The Gem isn’t a “restaurant” technically, but lately it is my favorite Tuesday morning indulgence. I stopped by one morning before work, mildly hesitant. I’m not a smoothie girl at all nor am I big on liquid health, but after one taste of their Tahitian Pearl smoothie, I am addicted to The Gem! (By the way, all of the menu items are named after precious stones (gems)!) 🙂 I love the mood of this place – colorful, uplifting, and young. You will shed 5 years off just by walking in. If you aren’t sure where to start, or what to order, just look for the writing on the wall or ask one of their Certified Health Counselors, like Maury – she knows EVERYTHING!! They’ll know how to fix what ails you and they will make it taste great. I’m not even loyal for the incredible health benefits….honestly – I just love the taste and I know that it’s good for me! Here’s what Chief Gemologist, Leslie, has to say about The Gem.
What is The Gem?
The GEM is, like our tag line says, a place to GLOW. Honestly organic juice, smoothies, green bites. Come in to enjoy it or learn why you need it, it is up to you.
Is The Gem a franchise? Where does the name “The Gem” come from or what inspired it?
Not a franchise. The health counseling program is called Diamonds on Your Inside. Initially, the counseling program was going to be my new endeavor. The organic juices and smoothies were what we loved and how we lived. MK asked if I’d ever thought of having a juice bar ‘in the front’ of my health counseling office. Eureka! The name The GEM is one way to get diamonds on your inside. Plus we love the play on words of being able to say ‘I went to the GEM twice today. Or, be a GEM.’ It is a way to ‘glow’ inside and out.
There are other juice bars and smoothie shops close by. What makes The Gem unique?
We are a community and we try to know our customers by name. It’s a healthy Cheers, if you will. It’s also a place where you can learn more about a healthy lifestyle—and we talk about it to anyone who wants to ask about it. Plus, The GEM works really hard to maintain our fruits and vegetables are organic. No pesticides or GMOs here, because that is the way we live at home.
Are the smoothies meant to be meal replacements? Morning breakfast? Afternoon boost?
Both! With the right ingredients, smoothies can be a meal replacement—providing greens, healthy fats, proteins, super fruits. It can also be an afternoon boost if the recipe is on the lighter side. We have smoothies that can do both.
I see that you are not only the manager but also a Certified Health Counselor. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background and how it plays a role in your everyday job?
We graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC, a year long program designed to guide clients towards a healthy, happy lifestyle. Our health counseling program, Diamonds On Your Inside, is tailored to each individual and emphasizes that health is not simply a diet. It is a lifestyle. Exercise, work, spirituality, relationships. They all play a critical role in becoming healthy, fit and happy. We talk about these foundations all the time, share it with our employees, post it on our walls. We have a disco ball turning 24/7….people know we work hard at enjoying life.
It’s difficult to knock a business that serves such quality ingredients, but what kind of response/answer would you have for the worst critic?
It takes time for the palate to adjust to clean, healthy food. Give it a chance, your body will love you and begin to crave it! Also, vibrant, organic food is not cheap, easy, or fast. But you shouldn’t be either!
Do you accommodate allergies and/or dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten-free, etc)?
The GEM is vegan and gluten free. We always accommodate allergies with respect and due diligence.
You seem to really know and understand your products and service, which I appreciate. What is something that you want customers to know that isn’t immediately apparent?
Everything we do is met with lots of consideration for the integrity of what we provide. We don’t provide smoothies that are super loaded with sugar because that’s not healthy. We compost. The quality of the olive oil (organic Bragg’s), the water filtration system (reverse osmosis). When we learned our sunflower seeds for one of our salads were not grown how and where we approved, we immediately changed vendors. The quality of what we do is important. VERY.We go out of our way for special customers who need us. Specially pressing juices for very sick and loyal customers. Why? Because when I was sick, I wanted a place to go where I felt secure in what and how I was being served.
What are your two personal favorite items on the menu?
The Amazing Crown Jewel (no dates) and the new Flawless pressed green juice.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Nothing that can’t be solved with a 24oz green juice and some disco music.
What’s your guilty pleasure meal?
Truffle fries from Hopdoddy. Fried rice from Shin Sei. Toasted marshmallows–lots of them.