Peter Ward knows all about construction and real estate development. For more than a decade, he was the owner of a successful construction company. Today, he commutes from the Bronx and commutes every day straight to Central Brooklyn for work.
Can you guess what’s in Brooklyn that draws him daily from his home borough?
“This business,” he said, waving his arms around him, as if it were obvious.
But Ward’s not referring to the development frenzy in Brooklyn that has construction workers chopping up apartments to make way for more residents. Ward is chopping up something entirely different: salads.
Ward is the owner of Jo Juice & Salad Bar, one of a handful of juice bars in Bedford Stuyvesant but also one of the few bars in all of Central Brooklyn that specializes in chopped salads.
“My nephew, Jo, started this business,” said Ward. “I got an interest in this business from watching him, and I liked the concept. It’s a clean way to eat, and I liked that.”
His nephew, Jo Ward, opened Jo Juice at 1093 Bedford Avenue in August 2012. The elder Ward purchased it from him in April 2014 and moved it to its current location at 1065 Bedford Ave. After moving the business, immediately Ward added a salad bar, wraps and other healthy food options, because “I think the entire package of people eating cleaner, better… salads are part of that package,” he said.
And although most of Ward’s new clientele walk in to buy a freshly made organic juice, it’s not uncommon they leave with a chopped salad in hand as well. It’s because, for those who are into chopped salads, it’s a pretty good deal:
Compare it to the popular Chop’t, whose salads start at $6.99 for the lettuce alone, and then .59 – $2.79 for each additional ingredient. At those prices, your salad can easily reach $12 with just 4 or 5 additional ingredients, whereas Jo’s large salads are a flat $9.00, with up to 13 complimentary add-ons, including a few unique toppings, such beets, tofu, jerk chicken, cilantro, goat cheese, coconut chips and honey roasted sesame seeds.
Jo’s fresh juice bar menu is one of the most extensive you might ever see, with close to 80 different juice blends, from breakfast smoothies made of espresso protein, coconut milk and banana; to “Smoothies of the Sea,” with sea moss, oats and and honey; to 15 different green juices, with ingredients such as kale, wheatgrass, ginger, pineapple, bok-choy and parsley.
Ward developed 90 percent of the menu himself, although he admits he has no experience as a cook. “But I have a good sense of taste, what works,” he said. “I combined them and introduced them to the public, and so far, they’re loving it.”
Jo Juice & Salad Bar is open seven days a week; Monday – Saturday, 8:30am – 7:00pm and 10:00am – 6:00pm on Sundays.
One other perk: The juice bar delivers (two drink minimum)– yet another reason for residents to “get drunk on nutrition.”