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Greenheart Juice & Royal Farms: The New Local Hotspots

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Greenheart Juice & Royal Farms: The New Local Hotspots

Imogen Smith, Staff Writer

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Background:

Greenheart Juice was created by Alicia Swanstrom and Diana Morales. Their first brick-and mortar shop is located in Great Falls. On March 31, a second location opened in Leesburg, just behind Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery. The official grand opening of Greenheart Juice was April 21.

 

Environment:

The shop was very tiny, with a bar setup and a wooden table in the back. Adhering to their name, the walls were painted light green, and plants and flowers were scattered around. Health-conscious hygiene products were displayed, and self-care books lined the shelves. Going with a large group would not be ideal, as this shop appeared to be a grab and go style.

 

Customer Service:

As I was greeted at the door, a staff member recommended several smoothies and explained which ones could work as a meal replacement or just general drinking. There were several ingredients on the menu I had never heard of, nor would have ever thought would go in a smoothie (coconut meat). After inquiring about “morgina” and “ashitaba,” two unfamiliar ingredients in the Mint Chip Matcha smoothie, one of the staff members kindly informed me about the health benefits of these “superfoods.” Although I did not find the drinks pleasant, I appreciated the effort made by the staff to make me feel welcome, and answer my questions.

 

Food:

Greenheart Juice offered smoothies, bowls, juice, and nut milk. I ordered a “Mint Matcha Chip” smoothie and a “Summer Garden” juice, which was from a refrigerator with premade drinks. The smoothie took about five minutes to make. Although minty, the smoothie was extremely grainy and thick. Occasionally, I would bite down on a rock-solid piece of what I now assume to be coconut meat. The chance of chomping down on unidentified objects made the experience feel less enjoyable and more like a game of chance. I was most apprehensive about the juice but ended up liking it more compared to the smoothie. The juice was more pleasant than the smoothie. Although very sweet, the tanginess of the lime, lemon, and cilantro came through. The bottle was very big (16 fluid ounces) and could easily be shared. What made me feel a bit nervous was the label on the back that had a warning from the FDA: “This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems”. To add to the grim warning, the total cost of the two drinks came to $24.

 

Personal Experience:

Personally, I cannot justify spending over $24 for a grainy smoothie and a possibly detrimental bottle of juice. Although I can understand the benefit of juice and superfoods, in the future I will stick to a simple glass of Tropicana.

 

 

 

 

 

Background:

Dubbed as having the best gas station fried chicken by Food & Wine magazine, Royal Farms is an exclusively East Coast company with locations in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. On March 19, Royal Farms opened its first Loudoun location.

 

Environment:

As soon as I stepped inside, I could hear and smell the food being made. As fried chicken is their specialty, the kitchen took up a third of the station. On the sides, there were electronic menus from which a customer could order. About four customers were inside, also ordering the famous chicken.

 

Customer Service:

The service was pleasant and not overbearing. They left people to make their own decisions, but if any questions arose, the staff happily answered them.

 

Food:

My family of four ordered the eight-piece meal that included two chicken breasts, two legs, two thighs, and two wings. Leftovers were in abundance.

Fries: Although I expected something different, the “Western Fries” were a pleasant surprise. Instead of the average shoe-string fries, these fries were thickly cut wedges of an Idaho potato. They were slightly soggy, and did not live up to the picture expectation, covered in in batter. Nevertheless, they were satisfying. The fries tasted amazing with the Chesapeake sauce (mayo with red bay seasoning), as the sauce provided a tangy flavor that contrasted with the hot, salty fries.

Chicken: The chicken lived up to my standards. The crunchy, but not overcooked, batter gives the chicken the right amount of pepperiness and crispiness. The chicken was so tender that meat was falling off the bone. Eight pieces were more than enough, and my family had both chicken breasts left over.

Buns: Just your standard hotdog bun. Chewy and gross. Just pass on those, and fill up on the chicken.

 

Overall:

I had high hopes for Royal Farm’s World Famous Fried Chicken, and they were met. Although the buns were disappointing, the crispy chicken and fries made up for everything.

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Greenheart Juice & Royal Farms: The New Local Hotspots