The Milk & Honey Juicery + Cafe, located at the corner of Elm and Hanover streets, is planning a grand opening in the next few weeks.
The cafe, founded by two childhood friends from Merrimack, Hannah Carol and Matthew Radwan, and local restaurant entrepreneur Liu Vaine, will serve organic and vegan juices, smoothies, breakfast bowls and more from a concept menu inspired by the colors of the rainbow.
The name Milk & Honey, Carol said, was inspired by the theory that sustainable practices will lead to a “world of abundance” where everyone will have what they need to live.
“We’re writing a love letter to the place we grew up,” she said. “We’ve traveled the world and refined our tastes, and now we’re coming back to give this gift to New Hampshire. I think this is something it needed.”
Everything served at the cafe is free of dairy, soy and meat products, and everything is vegan with the exception of humanely harvested local honey and eggs used in some dishes.
The menu is broken into three main categories — juice, smoothies and bowls — and each category has nine selections based on the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white and brown. The drinks and dishes feature a combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs to achieve their respective colors. The red juice, for example, is made with apples, carrots, beets, lemon and ginger; the purple juice is made with grapes, cucumbers, purple cabbage and lemon.
The smoothies consist of superfood blends, like the orange blend of sweet potato, banana, maca root and cinnamon, and the green blend of orange juice, spinach, kale, banana and coconut cream.
Breakfast bowls and whole-grain bowls include selections like chia pudding, oatmeal, sweet potato, buckwheat and acai bowls.
Carol said achieving the visual colors for the drinks using all organic products wasn’t an easy task.
“Sometimes it was like, ‘OK, this tastes great, but it’s not red enough,’” she said. “Blue was our largest obstacle. I was told by more than one nutritionist, ‘You can’t do it. Take it off the menu.’ But [the rainbow] is our concept, and we can’t say blue isn’t on the rainbow! So it look a lot of research and time to figure it all out.”
A different color is featured every day the cafe is open, with free samples of that color’s juice. Customers also have the option to do a juice flight in which they can taste three different juices.
In addition to its main menu, Milk & Honey offers locally roasted coffee from Flight Coffee Co., local tea from White Heron, house-made non-dairy milks including almond, cashew, tiger nut and hemp milk; and sweeteners including agave, local maple and honey.
Carol and Radwan said they use as many local products as possible, but staying local doesn’t take precedence over using organic and quality products that keep with the cafe’s concept.
“If you focus [a menu] on local, so much of it is about what’s seasonal,” Radwan said. “We want ours to be a menu that is solid year-round and has stuff that you may not be able to order at another place that has, like, one vegan option,” Radwan said.
“We’re more focused on expanding your palate and offering something that doesn’t exist in the area,” Carol added.
The cafe can accommodate 30 customers, with a mix of cafe tables, family style and bar seating. The atmosphere has a sleek and urban vibe that Radwan said was designed to feel like “an oasis.”
“I love the whole woodsy aesthetic, but we wanted this to be different and have a more modern and clean look,” he said.
Most importantly, Radwan said, he and Carol want Milk & Honey to be a welcoming space where everyone feels comfortable. Their hope is that the concise menu with items named simply by color makes the ordering process feel less daunting for people, and that the cafe will help to clear up misconceptions about vegan and vegetarian eating and make it more accessible to the general public.
“We’re intentional about making it appeal to a wide demographic, from the most veteran vegan to the health-curious person,” Carol said. “There’s something for everyone, and we’ll help them figure out what on the menu is best for them.”