BUCKTOWN — A family-run juice bar and cafe specializing in juices, organic baby food and cleanses welcomed its first customers on Saturday inside of a former currency exchange in Bucktown.
"It's a relief; we are excited to finally be open," said Ken Kamps, a Humboldt Park resident and co-owner of 24 Karrots Juice, 2004 W. Armitage Ave. on the northwest corner of Armitage and Damen avenues.
Through Friday, during its "soft opening week," 24 Karrots will be giving away free organic baby food, with a limit of one 5-ounce container per customer per day, according to a sign in its window.
Current baby food flavors, which will rotate weekly, are apple and banana; carrot and sweet potato; and beet, apple and quinoa.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
24 Karrots is just up the street from BFF Bikes, a woman-focused bike shop at 2112 W. Armitage Ave. and across from Izakaya Mita, a new Japanese tapas restaurant at 1960 N. Damen Ave. that is set to open on Friday.
"This corner of Bucktown is really changing," Kamps said.
Previously, Kamps said that if Wicker Park can sustain two doughnut shops across from each other near the CTA Damen "L" station, that Bucktown can have two juice bars.
24 Karrots now joins Green Corner, at 1880 N Damen Ave., which opened in 2011, as well as newcomers Infiniteus Rocks & Juice. Juice, which opened in October at 1644 W. North Ave. and Jus Juus, at 1442 N. Milwaukee Ave., inside of The Silver Room, which opened in May.
The spelling of the juice bar's name stems from carrot, the most popular vegetable used in juicing, while the number "24" is for the fact that most gold is available in 24 karats, Kamps said.
Ken Kamps' son, Anthony Kamps, and a team of four workers are helping to run the shop day to day, inside a 800-square-foot storefront that offers a smattering of tables.
The menu offers juices, smoothies, salads, wraps and three varieties of Acai bowls, which are made with Acai berries, bananas and almond milk.
There are 10 flavors of juices, including the LOL (Lots of Leaves), made with kale, celery, mint and cucumber, and 24K Gold, made with carrot, apple and ginger. The juices cost $6 for a 12-ounce glass and and $7.50 for 16-ounces.
Smoothies, such as the "Strawberry Patch" and "Grape Escape" are $5 for 12 ounces and $6.50 for 16 ounces.
Cleanses, available in one-day and three-day doses, will soon be available for pick-up and delivery, too.
Kamp has been juicing for 40 years, since he was 24 years old and received a juicer from his father.
"Juicing has given me the ability to enjoy life," Kamps said.
24 Karrots Juice, 2004 W. Armitage Ave. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Ph: 773-770-3865.