Thrive Juice Bar

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 24, 2011

Once in a while, I come across a restaurant so vibrant and delicious, I want to stake out real estate next door and move within arm’s mouth’s reach.


Once in a while, I come across a business owner who has such a passion for what they do, I can’t help but feel inspired myself.



Once in a while, I find a vegan-friendly restaurant that makes me feel understood, instead of a pain in the ass. ;)

Jonnie Karan is the brains behind Thrive Juice Bar, located in uptown Waterloo, Ontario on King Street South. Within a minute of meeting Jonnie, his passion for creating delicious vegetarian, vegan, and raw food is evident. Approachable plant-based creations tempt and impress carnivores and vegans alike and he understands that vegan food shouldn’t be strange or unappealing. It’s just whole food highlighting nature’s finest cuisine. Exactly what I try to do on this blog each day!


Last night, I had the pleasure of dining at Thrive with Angela, after listening to her rave about this place for months now! From the moment we stepped inside, I knew this place was done right. The decor was like no other vegan-friendly restaurant I’ve been to. It’s modern, with cool metallic beaming throughout, large floor to ceiling windows, and vibrant green accents lending an earthy feel. No detail is over-looked, and to my delight, the same care and attention went into the food.


As a child, I grew up drinking virgin Caesars (aka virgin Bloody Mary) and we were never without Mott’s Clamato juice in the fridge, complete with all the seasonings. So when I saw that the menu had a veggie juice that reminded me of my favourite pastime, I knew I had to order it.


The ‘lil Veggie Juice’ contained tomato, carrot, celery, cucumber, parsley, sea salt, fresh pepper, and vegan Worcestershire. Delicious! I just love that salted rim too.

Next, Jonnie brought us out the soup of the day- Red Lentil Dahl. Made with a coconut milk base, it was creamy with a kick of spice. The perfect starter for a rainy day.


After much debate, I ordered the Big Greens Sandwich. I have this thing for anything green…


Lightly toasted on organic 7-grain with extra virgin coconut oil, avocado, jalapeno hummus, goats cheese, marinated cucumbers, almond arugula pesto, fresh sprouts, spinach and frisée finished with a splash of lemon vinaigrette.

In other words…perfection! The lemon vinaigrette added a nice pop to the sandwich.

Ange ordered the Vegan Pad Thai made up of Rice noodles, daikon radish, snap peas, bok-choy, Asian cabbage and raw cashew pad Thai sauce, topped with spicy peanuts and cashews, fresh cilantro, Thai basil and mint. Finished with almond chili oil and mint lime vinaigrette. So many great flavours all in one dish!


For dessert, Jonnie brought us out another treat…vegan and gluten-free walnut fudge brownies with homemade coconut milk frozen dessert!


It was ALMOST too cute to eat.

The homemade coconut milk ‘ice cream’ was the best I’ve ever tasted. It melted into the brownie, taunting me to take bite after gooey bite.


I highly recommend checking out Thrive Juice Bar! Head on over and meet Jonnie and support his fantastic business. It’s definitely worth a drive to Acton Waterloo. You can also check out the stunning website and scope out the food and drink menu.



I will be back soon, very soon. Possibly today. When does it open? I hear their Big Green Smoothie is incredible… ;)

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

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Brittany June 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I wish me had healthy restaurants like that where I’m from!


Marta June 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Hiya Angela! I live in KW! and I just found this place too. can`t believe it`s been there so long and I just discovered it. FYI the big green juice is also to die for. The entire time I was sitting there I just couldn`t believe this place exists in my home town. so lucky!!


Katrina June 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

Everything looks so tasty! I need to go here.


[email protected] June 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

that place looks amazing!!!! I need to start juicing again!


Edan June 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

Why is goat’s cheese crossed out? They have a vegan goat cheese and you just didn’t get it?


Meghan June 27, 2011 at 9:05 am

I go to school in Waterloo, and I never knew this place existed!! Thanks:D Looks delicious!


Jenny June 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Went today! Thanks so much for the tip. Soooo good. Had the Red Juice. Will be back often!


Heather July 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

I hope you don’t see this as an attempt to take away from your experience, because that is completely not my intention and I am very happy that you had a great experience there – but I do feel the need to share my experience as well, since it was (unfortunately) very different… and so many people in the comments are talking of going here now. I should note that I am really, truly, probably the most unharsh critic out there, but this was truthfully the poorest restaurant experience I’ve ever had.

The first time I went there, I was just going through quickly and I got a smoothie (to-go). Truthfully, it wasn’t very good… like sickly sweet, not really fruity, just sweet sweet sweet. But okay! So that wasn’t the flavour for me, no big deal. A week or so later, a friend and I went there for lunch… and I have yet to return, even though I have a gift card. We ordered a smoothie to share, and a sandwich each. We got our smoothie right away. We waited for nearly TWO HOURS to recieve our sandwiches!!! Thank goodness we went on our day off, and we always have lots to talk about. It was like, we were sitting there just so into talking that all of a sudden we were like “wait, we’re supposed to be waiting for food – oh man, it’s been an hour!”. So we politely inquired, to be told that “it was coming, soon”. We got glasses of water, and had them refilled 3 times (after drinking the smoothie). I understand that we were right in the middle of the lunch rush – believe me, I do. We were prepared to wait a little bit. But really? Just shy of two hours for two sandwiches?! It was not a complicated order. The issue was that we were dining in and waiting patiently, while the whole time we could see people coming to just take-out food and they were getting served first. Which I do kinda understand, but this was beyond extreme – however, I must say in the one guy’s defense that he was the only one making food and he was working hard the entire time. When the sandwiches did finally come, they really weren’t anything special – they were good, but certainly not worth the wait.

…also, the restaurant I agree is much more “vegan-friendly”, however, they are (or were) advertising themselves as vegan, when in actuality (like another commenter said), they’re not. This actually frustrated me most, as walking in the sign said/we were told it was “entirely vegan”…..but with some milk available to go in drinks and some cheese/toppings for sandwiches. Um, then you’re not vegan. Which is fine, serve what you want – but you can’t market yourself as vegan and then just add “a few non-vegan things” here & there.

Finally, I should end with the fact that they did give us an extra soup and a giftcard each when we finally recieved our food. The soup – again, maybe just not my thing, but I choked back (literally I gagged) one bite, my friend refused to try it, and I brought it home… two people tried a bite, it ended up in the trash. Neither of us has used our giftcards yet, so maybe they have gotten better since we were there (March).

Again, I am very happy that you had a great experience, and I hope this means that perhaps they were just really having some difficulties when I was there. But I did feel compelled to share my not-as-pleasent experience so that people don’t get a skewed perception of the place. I hope I didn’t offend you, as that was not my intention at all!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

Thank you for your comment Heather! I’m quite surprised by your experience, but thank you for sharing. I welcome all points of view and opinions. :)


jen November 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

i love thrive! huge toss-up between thrive and fressen on queen.
awesome blog!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

Thanks Jen!


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