Savoring Safi Juice in Bloomfield
I didn't realize that Pittsburgh Magazine had just published a piece on Safi Juice when I decided to stop into the Penn Avenue spot after one of my runs last week. Its vibrant green storefront had been calling out to me for months, and last time I passed it I reminded myself to bring my wallet next time. Knowing the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables, I was curious how this place would package the concept, and being at the start of another tumultuous Pittsburgh spring, I needed something more refreshing than Netflix nature documentaries, or even the promise of summer travel. So on Thursday I tucked two five dollar bills under my shoelaces and committed to experiencing Safi Juice firsthand.
It must have been just after 4 p.m. when I peered into the darkened front window and door, thinking I should have checked their business hours. A man carrying a toddler by the car behind me calls out and says, “Go on in, it's open!” They and two other customers soon follow, and as I stand staring at the juice bottles and to-go packs in the side cooler, trying to make up my mind and my budget, the man who I now guess is the owner offers to make me a fresh blend.
I don't know if he can tell that I just finished my run when he describes a coconut-based smoothie. Hearing the list of ingredients, it’s too good to pass up: pineapple, mango, mint, coconut oil, and is it lime and spinach? A little more expensive than the pre-made cooler options, this cup is also larger and certainly packed with electrolytes and other nutrients my body needs! I'm delighted to see that this is a whole-fruit smoothie, not something strained and overloaded with sugar—just simple, blended ingredients ready in two minutes.
I ask how long they’ve been open, and he says since November, that he’s still learning about the neighborhood. I wonder if the empty space across the room is soon going to be filled by tables and barstools. A local magazine to the right of the register invites more connection to the community. I pay and smile again at the little boy running around with the broom.
Sipping my green smoothie and walking down the sunny but cold, pre-rush-hour sidewalk, I can't help but feel hopeful for this stretch of Pittsburgh, for my health, for my neighbors. We might not be California or a lush rainforest, but we have what it takes to take care of each other, especially if we keep supporting businesses like this one.
At Safi Juice I feel welcome, healed and inspired. Just thinking about the company philosophy, that health is for everyone, makes me wonder how we as a city can make healthy food more affordable and accessible.
If you need something nourishing, down to earth, here, and now (not on Netflix), stop in Safi Juice and say hello. Then buy me or a neighbor one of the beet juices, because those look really good too!
Safi Juice is located at 4919 Penn Ave., open every Wednesday through Monday at 10 a.m.