Photos by Katherine Odell
Restaurants like Winstead’s, Chipotle and Freddy’s make it so hard to stay focused on eating healthy – one look at a Winstead’s double with onion rings wipes the memory of a Health Nut salad from The Mixx from my brain. However, places like Robeks, with the slogan “Healthy Never Tasted This Good!,” are a reminder that smart eating can be satisfying as well as tasty –– for the most part.
Robeks is a juice bar that serves smoothies, juices, bowls and wellness shots to benefit your immune system – all made fresh before your eyes. The decor of the store replicates the freshness of their food promised on their website, and I felt like I was walking into a garden rather than a food chain. My empty stomach directed my eyes to the light blue, pink and green menu displayed on the wall.
I had difficulty choosing from the extensive menu with over 40 options separated into 11 different categories. I finally decided on the “Berry Beneficial” superfood smoothie, “Cool Cucumber” juice, “Acai Especial” bowl and the lemon ginger wellness shot, totaling at $22.97.
The first item I tried was the lemon ginger wellness shot. “Shot” is a fitting descriptor for this drink, since it filled a plastic container about three inches wide. I asked for a mild amount of cayenne pepper, but I still mentally prepared for the shot, due to my prior experience with health tonics. My motivation to drink it was the wonders it promised to do for my immune system, so I quickly downed it in one gulp. My face scrunched up in a there’s-a-Warhead-candy-in-my-mouth kind of way. Eck. Terrible. I prayed that it would keep me from getting sick this fall, or else I had endured that for nothing.
Luckily I got the sour taste of lemon and ginger out of my mouth with the “Berry Beneficial” smoothie that came next. The sweet flavors of the whole strawberries, whole blueberries and raspberry juice were strong and refreshing. Unlike the DIY smoothies I attempt to create at home, the “Berry Beneficial” was the perfect consistency — not too chunky yet not too smooth. In less than two minutes, it was already half-way gone.
Before I could fully finish my smoothie, the “Cool Cucumber” appeared on the counter. I love juices and cucumber in general, so my hopes were high for this one. At first I was underwhelmed by the flavor, but then my face scrunched up yet again at the bitter taste. I thought about how unfitting a refreshing name was for this concoction that made my throat burn. I quickly grabbed my “Berry Beneficial” to chase it down.
At that point my taste buds had been on an emotional roller coaster, the wellness shot started them at a low, then the smoothie made them shoot up, only to have a stomach-dropping plummet with the juice. When I got my “Acai Especial” bowl, I had no idea what to expect. My tentative first bite was greeted by the unique, but pleasing, taste of blended acai. This was my first acai bowl since I went to Aruba two years ago, and I was surprised that this Kansas version was just as good.
The oats, granola and fruit filled me up before I saw the bottom of the bowl, which is something I can’t say about some salads I’ve tried. The bowl alone would be the perfect amount of food for lunch, and definitely made me feel less guilty than two slices of cheese pizza from the East cafeteria.
On my journey home from the store’s location at 135th & Metcalf, I felt like it was a mission accomplished. The bowl and smoothie were surprisingly filling. Even after cheering at an entire football game that night, I had plenty of energy. Though the thought of the wellness shot and Cool Cucumber juice gave me chills, they didn’t ruin the overall positive experience I had at Robeks due to the colorful and fresh atmosphere. The next time I’m trying to eat healthy, I know where to go.