Newcomer Papaya Organic Juice Bar is joining the Montclair wellness scene at 131 Pine Street. Owner Ximena Sofia Bravo has big plans for the little building, which is a former contractor’s office. Papaya Organic Juice Bar aims to open in spring 2024, with a focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle within the Montclair community through a variety of locally sourced and organic options. Read on to learn more about the new juice bar coming to Montclair.
Photo Credit: Ximena Sofia Bravo
What We Know
Now that the Montclair Planning Board has approved Ximena Sofia Bravo’s plans for the building located at 131 Pine Street, things are happening behind the scenes to make her dream a reality.
The building is a very small house that resembles a railroad depot. Sofia believes that over 50 years ago, the building may have been used as a barn or for grain storage. In the last 40 years, the building has been used as a contractor’s office. The space is currently empty with a residential apartment on the second floor.
One of the challenges Sofia faced was changing the use of the building from a commercial office to a commercial retail/juice bar. This required hiring professionals and going through the Planning Board’s site plan approval process. As of October 2nd, 2023, Sofia received site plan approval from the Montclair Planning Board and expects to open the establishment sometime in spring 2024.
Given the health-centric nature of the business, Sofia intends to transform the first floor of 131 Pine Street into an inviting and fresh space for customers. She is working with a local architect to bring her vision to life. Additionally, Sofia plans to incorporate visual art from a local artist as part of the establishment’s ambiance.
About the Owner
Ximena Sofia Bravo grew up in Ecuador where she was immersed in a world of organic fruits and vegetables. This early exposure planted the seeds of a lifelong passion for nutrition and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. After moving to the US to attend Montclair State University and earning a degree in business administration she found herself inspired to venture into the world of juice bars.
Sofia’s decision to establish one in Montclair was influenced by her 15-year residency in the town, where she personally experienced the limited availability of organic juices and smoothies. According to Sofia, “I had to go to neighboring towns to buy an organic juice or smoothie and so I feel this business aligns very well with Montclair’s character.”
What to Expect
What sets Papaya Organic Juice Bar apart from others in the area is that the products will be USDA-certified organic. This means that providers of fruits and vegetables will have to meet strict standards for the growing, processing, and handling of their products. Sofia currently has connections with a few local providers that specialize in organic certification.
Photo Credit: Ximena Sofia Bravo
Prior to the pandemic, Sofia and her husband traveled to South Korea where they experienced local cuisine first-hand. During their exploration, they discovered a popular fruit-flavored beverage, prepared with fresh citrus ingredients and had an option of carbonated or non-carbonated variations.
In developing the menu, Sofia recalled the fresh flavors of her Ecuadorian upbringing and the popular flavors and textures she encountered in Korea.
“I have been researching the benefits of different fruits and vegetables which I plan to incorporate into the menu. The current menu is not finalized yet, but I am very excited about honoring the name of the organic juice bar, which is Papaya,” Sofia said.
Sofia envisions that Papaya Organic Juice Bar’s services will spread awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle to the Montclair community. “We’re looking forward to partnering with nearby yoga studios, spas, and other local organizations. We’re grateful that Montclair is a town where local businesses are supported and I hope my business brings additional awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and that it helps promote it,” Sofia said.
While there is no official opening date, Papaya Organic Juice Bar is aiming to open its doors sometime in spring 2024. For more news and lifestyle content, be sure to follow @themontclairgirl on Instagram and TikTok.