Molly Reinmann, Contributing Photographer

Alexis Evans, a former nurse and lifelong New Haven resident, opened Raw Juicescape in March of this year with the hopes of bringing tasty and nutritious options to the city.

Raw Juicescape, located at 770 Chapel Street, offers customers a variety of fresh juices, smoothies, wellness shots, açai bowls and herbal teas. In addition to serving her customers, Evans hopes to serve as a warm and supportive presence in their wellness journeys.

Evans has a call bell next to her cash register, which she hopes customers will ring after ordering a juice to congratulate themselves. 

“I tell them, ‘Okay, ring the bell! You picked a healthy beverage today, you’re on your way,’” Evans said. “I want to really build them up. I mean, this is an $8 juice, and they could have gone to McDonalds and gotten a $2 Coke, but they made the choice to better themselves instead. And that’s great.”

Evans explained that she has long been interested in health and wellness. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, she said she regularly worked out and took dietary supplements, but never prioritized consumption of fresh fruits. 

Evans began experimenting with juicing early in the pandemic, learning about the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can be accessed naturally through fresh juices rather than processed vitamins.

“[A] good thing about juicing,” Evans said, “is you get a variety of fruits and vegetable ingredients all packed into one drink.”

In addition to serving juices, Evans hopes to educate customers about the health benefits associated with specific ingredients. Lining the walls of Raw Juicescape are a number of laminated posters, each displaying a fruit or vegetable and its respective health benefits. While waiting for their juices, customers can learn about the “rich fiber” in sea moss, for example, or the “anticancer and antioxidant benefits” of watermelon. 

Evans offers a build-your-own juice or smoothie option, and she hopes the information on the posters will help customers create their own healthy drinks. 

“I want this to be a place where people come in and actually learn,” Evans said. “I want people to feel like, when they’re building their own smoothie or juice, they can take a minute to consider the benefits. That way they can make their own concoction according to what their body needs.”

Evans also helps customers with specific health concerns to build the juice that best serves their needs. Kelley Reid, a New Haven resident and frequent customer at Raw Juicescape, explained that she struggles with high blood pressure and was inspired to try Evans’ juices to improve her health. 

When Reid consulted Evans, she learned about the different juices and the ways that certain ingredients could help her blood pressure. Since drinking these customized juices, Reid believes her health has improved.

“Since I’ve started going in, I’ve been having great energy and seeing great results,” Reid said. “Her juices have really helped me out.”

Michael Sistrunk, a regular at Raw Juicescape, emphasized the importance of the juice bar’s central location on Chapel Street.

“There’s not too much downtown in terms of healthy options,” Sistrunk said. “Everything is fast food junk, and you don’t want to eat that all the time. So I love that she’s there.”

Evans also noted the importance of her location, stating that she wanted to make her juices and information accessible to customers of different socioeconomic levels. On Chapel Street, she explained, she is able to serve a diverse crowd.

On top of their fondness for Raw Juicescape’s beverage offerings, customers pointed to Evans’ welcoming personality as a highlight of the juice bar.

Shandrea Pittman, another customer at Raw Juicescape, noted that Evans is always available for customers. She explained that Evans shares her personal cell phone number so that customers can text her to order juices or smoothies in advance.

Evans credits her personability and warmth to her nursing background. She explained that through nursing, she learned to have unconditional empathy, which is very important in customer service. 

“She’s like a world class bartender,” Sistrunk said. “I go in there because of what she’s doing, and because of the great personality that she is. It’s refreshing to have someone to talk to, and someone to tell you about the benefits of everything.”

Raw Juicescape is located at 770 Chapel Street.

MOLLY REINMANN