I’m a somewhat lapsed vegetarian turned pescatarian (is that really a thing?) now that I’m a parent and spouse to omnivores. With two young children, convenience is high on my priority list. Sorry, true believers – sincerely I am sorry – but it’s true. So when I can get vegetarian convenience coupled with another one of my priorities, money (as in keeping most of my cash on me!), I get excited. For that reason, and many more, Health Love Soul Juice Bar and Grill at 387 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair is an exciting place.
The last time I was there was on a lunch date with my husband, and he really enjoyed it too. It’s not just me! I’ve had several different meals at HLS now, and the food has always been stellar. My companions have usually eaten actual fish, turkey, and chicken. I have tried several of the vegetarian options, including my favorite so far, the Soy Thai Chic’n wrap for $6.95.
As exciting as the food is (I’m writing this just before lunch, by the way), the drinks are even more impressive. The green kale drinks are especially delicious. I’ve tried Green Dream and Vitamin Awesome, and I’m hoping to try their sweetness (added by apple and carrot) out on my kids. I’ve also tried the Spicy Icy – perfect for ginger lovers! And I snuck a few sips of a friend’s Pineapple Mango Tango (shhh!), and boy was that good too. The small size is plenty, but once the weather gets hotter, the large will be great for a downtown walkabout.
Can you tell I’m a little excited about the menu at HLS (pdf) on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair? Well, my enthusiasm was recently bolstered when I looked past the vegetarian options to see a Kids Menu section. PB&J, PB&Banana, veggie chicken nuggets, or a grilled cheese are not only affordable at $4 and $5, but they are safe options for broken-by-arguing-about-supposedly-adult-food parents with picky kids.
And as though it couldn’t get better, HLS is local – it started in Maplewood and then expanded to Montclair – and has a compassionate and health-oriented outlook towards the food they serve.
from the website: HLS is tailored fit to today’s times where many are conscious of what they eat and conservative about how much they spend. It is a space where mother groups meet weekly and friends meet nightly. A friendly face behind the counter greets a regular by name and knows her order by heart.
Our mission is to prove that foods and beverages can be delicious and fun without sacrificing nutrition or principles. We strive to be the destination of choice for selective meat eaters and vegetarians alike by offering a menu that caters equally to both. We pride ourselves on bringing diverse groups together in one warm and welcoming environment. HLS: Many choices. One love.
– Arinze and Emeka, Proud owners of HLS
The good food and made-to-order drinks can sometimes take a while, so keep that in mind if you’re in a hurry or have the kids. Sometimes drinks have arrived so quickly I’ve barely sat down. Either way, there is lots of great art on the walls to keep you company.
Oh, one more thing: They have WiFi!