"I’d say that the chef-driven approach is what sets us apart. Our menu was created by a classically trained chef, and the plant-based food world doesn’t usually have access to this type of talent."
-- Anne Owen, Co-Owner, Owen + Alchemy
What is creativity? Is it confined to one specific craft or can it span a variety of occupations, skills, and techniques? Painting. Singing. Writing. Cooking. Sculpting. These are the clear obvious ideas of creativity. And for good reason. But how can creativeness play into other arenas, arenas that are not necessarily considered to be part of the 'arts?' Numbers. Technology. Engineering. Finance. I don't know about you, but when I think about these areas of work, my first thought is definitely not that they are creative in nature. Plugging away at numbers? What's creative about that? But in reality, anything can be approached with a creative mindset. Problem solving. Becoming more aware of situations are your surroundings. Asking the right questions. These all are ways that people choose to be more creative in their given field.
It is this creativity that drives and motivates that team at Owen + Alchemy, a juice apothecary located in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. "We [love] the creative mindset in Logan, and knew if we set up business there we wouldn’t have to play it safe with our menu or certain design elements of the space. We’re inspired daily by the neighboring local businesses," says Anne Owen, co-owner of the shop. The minute you step into the store, it is apparent that this team wasn't messing around. Rather than looking like your basic health food store, Owen + Alchemy pushes the limits with sleek sexy decor. Mute black walls. Locally built sculptures and furniture. No detail has been over looked or forgotten.
What about the juices? Are they really all that they are hyped up to be? Yes, yes and yes. The chefs aim to purchase the majority of their ingredients from local farmers. "By purchasing locally, you can reduce your carbon footprint, seasonal produce is better for you since it’s harvested/picked at it’s peak and doesn’t have to travel far distances to reach you. Local food also supports crop variety and preserves open space," says Owen.
Sexy design and locally sourced ingredients has to be the winning combination, right? But what about the fact that O+A is plopped down in the middle of the country's third largest city? It would be easy to have hesitations about the success of a small local juice apothecary. Is it going to find its stride? Would people outside of Logan Square embrace and support this local venture? The answer to all of these questions is an astounding yes! Personally, from someone living outside Owen + Alchemy's home neighborhood, I could not be more proud of and happy for the success that Anne and her team has experienced. From the opening of a pop-up location at Eataly, to bottling over 1,000 juices a day to sell at the 2015 Lollapalooza festival, O+A is consistently pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations.
A huge thank you to Anne Owen for helping make this article possible!