New restaurant adds juice to downtown Port Orchard

Juice Bar owner Josh Zetzche (left) presents a perfect strawberry banana smoothie along with apprentice juicers Amy Durgan and Nicole Pavlik. - Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo
Juice Bar owner Josh Zetzche (left) presents a perfect strawberry banana smoothie along with apprentice juicers Amy Durgan and Nicole Pavlik.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant/Staff Photo

As owner of the new Juwapas Juice Bar in downtown Port Orchard, Josh Zetzsche is always looking for new combinations in a quest for the perfect smoothie. And the best one he has created — at least recently — is a blend of avocado and strawberry.

“Smoothies are totally natural, and nutritious,” Zetzsche said. “They are made with pure ingredients, with no dairy and no syrup. They make you feel invigorated and are the best way to get vitamins.”

Which doesn’t mean that Zetzsche doesn’t push the envelope every once in a while. The worst smoothie he ever made — and one that will not make it onto the menu — consisted of Mountain Dew and Doritos blended together.

“It tasted like a wet chip,” he said, admitting that quite a few of his experiments just don’t pan out.

Juwapas (“The name is made up, and means nothing,” said Zetzsche) is located at the east edge of downtown Port Orchard, also serves a selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Like the smoothies, much of the fare springs from Zetzche’s own imagination, such as a portobello burger and a vegetarian sloppy Joe called “Sloppy Jane.”

Zetzsche, 31, said the new shop is the culmination of a nearly lifelong dream. Ever since he visited his first juice bar when he was a teenager, he knew he wanted to make juice for a living.

After detours at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and as a short-order cook, and most recently at the Port Orchard Ale House, the opportunity arose when the former Bay Leaf Bistro became available last year.

Coincidentally, Zetzsche received an inheritance that will cover initial operating expenses and he decided to take a shot — in spite of the fact that the economy is lagging and Port Orchard isn’t exactly known as a hotbed of vegetarianism.

While every local restaurant serves some vegetarian fare, Zetzsche said his establishment is the only all-vegetarian restaurant in Kitsap County. He isn’t completely sure of this distinction, but does lay claim to the only one serving vegan food.

The difference between the two, he explains, is that vegans avoid all animal products. So while a vegetarian will accept butter, milk or eggs vegans choose a purer path.

And since this is a moral choice, they might not be entirely comfortable eating in a place where meat is served.

“Vegetarians are a growing segment of the population,” Zetzsche said, “and they’re looking for new places to eat.”

Zetzsche has at least one advantage over some merchants who move to town in order to sell their wares. He is a Port Orchard native, who now owns the house in which he grew up.

As a 1996 South Kitsap High School graduate, he knows the community. This Monday, his first day open for business, a steady stream of his friends visited the store to offer greetings — and, in spite of the cold weather, buy a smoothie.

“This is my home town,” he said. “I want to help make this location come to life.”

Future plans include serving Saturday breakfast, presenting live music and showcasing the work of local artists.

“I can make this work,” Zetzsche said, adding, “I am really happy with where my life is right now.”

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