Sadie Bograd, Contributing Photographer

Fans of cold-pressed juice and acaí bowls no longer have to go all the way to State Street to satisfy their Pedals Smoothie & Juice Bar cravings.

Pedals, a Connecticut-based chain of smoothie and juice bars, opened its third location on 284 York St. in early November. The first Pedals location opened a year ago in Durham and the second location opened on State Street in New Haven over the summer. The store sells smoothies, bowls, cold-pressed juices and other drinks, almost all of which are gluten-free and vegan. 

“I think the mission is just something that is so satisfying that is 100 percent good for you and easily accessible and affordable,” Katie Hughes-Nelson SOM ’21, the brand’s co-founder and co-owner, told the News. “I think that was kind of our driver: real food that really pumps nutrition into you … For college students, if you’re an athlete or just have a test or something, and you want something that’s delicious and fast, that’s a perfect option.”

The smoothies cost $8.50, a relatively standard price for health food, but more expensive than other food offerings near campus.

Anjelena Perez, who works at both the State and York Street locations, said that the new Pedals gets more customers. Hughes-Nelson said the York Street location is meant to be the busiest one since it’s located “in the heart of Yale.” 

Multiple Pedals customers confirmed that the central location is a major part of the restaurant’s appeal. 

“I’m in Morse, which is pretty much right next door, so it’s a really convenient location for me,” Audrey Bernstein ’25 said. “I like that I can get work done in here and also enjoy a smoothie or a bowl.” 

The store uses homemade ingredients in all of its products. Employees make the store’s nut milks, nut butters, juices and granola bars by hand.

Some employees said that they appreciate the business’s focus on freshness.

“It’s not like we have a lot of inventory just sitting around or products that have just been here for days waiting to get used,” Princess Baize, who has worked at Pedals since August, said. “Nothing is here for more than four or five days.” 

According to Hughes-Nelson, Pedals is trying to create a “loop system” in which it reuses materials instead of throwing them away. Part of this project includes selling Pedals juice in glass bottles instead of plastic ones, and offering customers a dollar back if they return their bottles so they can be sanitized and resold. Customers are also encouraged to bring back their smoothie cups. Pedals composts its food waste and offers compostable single-use items.

The plant-based menu is also meant to reduce the company’s impact on the climate. Other than the honey in the granola, all of Pedals’ products are vegan as well as gluten-free. 

Hughes-Nelson said that health and sustainability don’t come at the cost of flavor. She developed the restaurant’s recipes herself, fine-tuning the balance of ingredients “so that it’s close to a perfect pour every time and we don’t have waste.” She wanted to offer a range of flavor profiles for customers with different preferences: some smoothies are classic and fruit-based, while others include vegetables or nut butter. 

It took time to create product recipes — Pedals’ “newtella,” for example, was “years in the making” — but many customers said they enjoy the results.

“I was there opening day, and I’ve come back a few times since,” Bryant Valladares ’24 said. “I really like the Mountain Biker [smoothie], and I like making an acai bowl, depending on the day.”

Hughes-Nelson said she has plans to offer new items at the York Street location, like a “Yale Bowl smoothie bowl.” The business also might expand its hours. Right now, Pedals’ lease with Yale mandates that it be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the restaurant might start opening as early as 8 a.m. 

All of Pedals’ smoothies cost the same price.

SADIE BOGRAD
Sadie Bograd covers City Hall. She is also a producer on the podcast Full Disclosure. She is a first year from Kentucky in Davenport College prospectively majoring in Urban Studies.