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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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out June 25, 2011 at 7:47 am

Gluten free and vegan brownie??!!! I’m so jealous


Julie @ Shining From Within June 25, 2011 at 7:54 am

I need more places like this around me! Is a ceasar like a bloody mary? Never heard of a ceasar!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 8:05 am

yup! just without alcohol


Andrew Lowry June 26, 2011 at 12:19 am

It is a vodka and Clamato juice based cocktail typically found in Canada or bars in the USA that get a lot of Canadian customers.


Gena June 25, 2011 at 7:57 am

Gosh that place looks heavenly! So envious.


Jen @newellnd June 25, 2011 at 7:58 am

I will definitely be checking this place out ASAP! The brownie makes me want chocolate and its not even 9 am yet


cathy June 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

i’m so glad you and angela visited thrive! i agree – we are so fortunate to have this wonderful spot in waterloo. happily, i live a 5 minute walk away!
that brownie dessert looks amazing!


cathy June 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

forgot to add that i got your “worth the drive to acton” joke! :)
and also, if you ever have the chance to go through vincenzo’s, also in the bauer building, it’s pretty amazing – the closest thing to whole foods that we have in waterloo!


Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) June 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

AHH!! i wish there was one near me!! that place looks incredible!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

So glad you loved it Ange! If you ever need a buddy to go back with… well you know who to call! ;)


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

“Once in a while, I find a vegan-friendly restaurant that makes me feel understood, instead of a pain in the ass.” Amen! I can remember being SO frustrated with restaurants when I was vegan, and even more so when I was vegan and gluten-free.
I’m so happy you found a place you love! Jeez, I need to get to your neck of the woods to try all these amazing eats!


Emily June 25, 2011 at 8:24 am

That brownie look divine! And this place in general looks awesome! :)


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

So happy for you that you had such an awesome time and meal…and love that it’s not a dirty hole in the wall and super clean, modern, chic, bright, and lovely! Sometimes vegan restaurants & yoga studios are always so dingy and not really “inviting” but Thrive looks great!

‘lil Veggie Juice’ = looks like a virgin Bloody Mary to me, more or less, and omg does it look stunning!

But not as stunning as the walnut fudge brownies with homemade coconut milk frozen ice-cream…WOW!

Almost too cute to eat. Almost. :)


mariah (pictures pups and pies) June 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

I’m so jealous- I wish we had something like this in Charlotte! It looks wonderful.


Cait's Plate June 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

Oooh this is awesome! We have nothing like this around us really. Every item looks so fresh and delicious! Can’t wait to live vicariously through you on your return trip ;)


Shady June 25, 2011 at 8:39 am

I live in Kitchener and I had NO IDEA this place existed (I don’t get out much) but I do have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks and a day of spoilage planned and I think I just found my lunch venue. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this to my attention.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

yay!!! have fun


Rhona June 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

Ok, how could healthy, fresh and green look so delicious? And, that brownie? Need it! It looks like the drive to Waterlook would be worth it.


The Healthy Hipster June 25, 2011 at 8:53 am

Ooooo I SO appreciate this review. I’m dying to take a little foodie road trip so the next time I absolutely MUST get out of the city it’ll definitely be high on the list :)


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

I’m completely jealous of your meal. The brownie and coconut ice cream just looks incredible! The pictures are mouth-watering, seriously.


Abby [email protected], Drink and Be Aware June 25, 2011 at 9:08 am

Hello Angela: That restaurant looks amazing and makes me want to come and visit Ontario. I made a sandwich yesterday that I think you will really love. Check it out at– it is a Chickpea, Beet and Apple Sandwich and it is amazing! I hope you have a great day.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 9:57 am

wow that looks right up my alley!


staceyhealthylife June 25, 2011 at 9:11 am

Sounds like an amazing place. I wish there was one around me, yum.


WIERDGREENMAN June 25, 2011 at 9:11 am

Looks amazing. Expecially the brownie. Whenever I try to make coconut milk ice cream, it doesn’t work out and just turns into non-creamy coconut-flavored ice.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

That sandwich looks incredible! I love how clean and fresh the space looks. You guys have all the cool stuff in Canada! :)


Dawn June 25, 2011 at 9:22 am

Yummy!! I’m in Waterloo all the time, I must check this place out!! :)


Lacia June 25, 2011 at 9:24 am

I went there for the first time about 2 weeks ago and it was amazing!!! I couldn’t decide what to get it all just looked so good. I will be going back many many times again (I live 10 min. away). It is my mission to try everything on their menu.

And for the record, I grew up in Georgetown, and NOTHING is worth the drive to Acton! LOL.


Sara June 25, 2011 at 9:27 am

Well that place looks outrageously adorable.


Lindsey @ Why Just Eat June 25, 2011 at 9:28 am

Okay, well now I really wish I lived in Ontario instead of Colorado. That place looks amazing! –Funny: when I firsts saw the title of your post, I thought “wow, she made juice bars using Thrive products, how smart!!” I cook with Thrive products and now you have inadvertently inspired me to make a juice bar :) Thanks!


Hayley @ Oat Couture June 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

Oooh that brownie and coconut milk ice cream look amazing!! :) I feel like thats all I say on your blog but everything always looks so delicious! So wish we had something like that near us!


[email protected] June 25, 2011 at 9:42 am

i need to go here!!!!!!!!!!!!
i have a dairy allergy and never EVER get good desserts!
your meal looks like heaven on a plateee!


Caroline @ The G-Spot June 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

OH. MY. GOSH. That vegan pad thai and brownie look amazing! I need those. Now. ;)


Liz June 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

“worth the drive to Acton” totally made me LOL

Looks like a fabulous place. I’m not vegan but I enjoy plant-based meals, however some vegan restaurants do intimidate me a little. This place looks super inviting – it may be worth the drive to waterloo


Erin June 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

Just wanted to say I LOVE reading your blog! I look forward to it every chance I get! Your writings have inspired/encouraged me to make wonderful little changes to my life!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

thank you Erin!


Jackie @ That Deep Breath June 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

That place looks great! We really need more vegan and vegetarian restaurants in cities. More & more people are reevaluating their diets and restaurants need to accommidate that to make money


pamela June 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

When I make your recipes, the taste reminds me of a dish from a fancy restaurant. You need to open a restaurant of your own! I’ll take a vacation just to visit it from the USA!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

I would love to cook something for you! :)


kris (everyday oats) June 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

I really wish there were more places like that around where I live!


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty June 25, 2011 at 11:44 am

wow. everything looks incredible.
I would LOVE to eat at a restaurant like this!! :)


Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner June 25, 2011 at 11:44 am

That place looks AMAZING!!! Did you say salt around the edges? So, it was alike a V8?


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Yes it was sorta like a V8, but maybe with a bit more kick. I would have loved hot sauce in there too (thats how I used to enjoy the bloody marys…spicy)


Yolie @ Practising Wellness June 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

Wow, this place looks absolutely incedible. SOOO cool. I would eat and drink here in a heartbeat, and with a HUGE smile! I did my Moksha Yoga Teacher Training in Toronto, Ontario, and I miss it so much! I think Canada is an incredible country, and this post makes me miss it even more! :-) xyx


Monika June 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Wow, that place looks incredible!


Kathy June 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’m very sad that The Thrive Juice Bar is oh-so far away.
Like…probably over 200 miles away or more…
I must go to Canada now…;)


sue June 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

How to make a girl homesick on a Saturday morning! I love Waterloo! I lived there for over 12 years – undergrad and beyond! I even owned a house that I wish I held onto! I hope this restaurant thrives! I hope to go back to visit sometime this summer (from my present home of San Francisco).


Shannon ~ My Place In The Race June 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

What a cute little place! I wish we had more places like that here :( I live in the South, so fried, meat, fried, meat…oh, and fried is the common order here. The Ceasar sounds fantastic! I love Bloody Mary’s.


Michelle S. June 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I’ll have to check it out sometime! Thanks for mentioning it, I’m always looking for more places to eat that are friendlier to gluten free diets and I find healthy restaurants have more options for me.


Carly June 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

The mans sister lives in Waterloo, will have to make a pit stop here next time we visit!


Jessica June 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

That sounds looks AND sounds a-ma-zing!!! And that dessert! I don’t know about you but basic coconut ice cream is sooo delicious! The way the food was organized on the platter was beautiful as well!


suzanne June 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I was there yesterday and had the dal soup and a kale mojito! Sooooo good. Oh and my daughter works there!!


Moni'sMeals June 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

This is sooo my type of place. I am happy you have a place to look forward too. The owner is so geniune.. I can tell in his smile. :)

That dessert…YUM!


chi June 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

i have some bad news for strict vegans – they are NOT strict with the “veganess” of the food. A good friend of mine worked here, two actually, one vegan and one not, and they both ended up quitting bc ppl were serving food that was not completely vegan as vegan. dont’ know if they are still doing this. but this has been the case up until very recently.


[email protected] FoodFitnessFreshAir June 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm

That place sounds amazing! I LOVE juice. Carrot is my favorite, and I always get it when I see it out. Occasionally when I’m at my parent’s house, I’ll get my mom to whip out the juicer too.


VeggieGIrl June 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

This is the type of place I’d love to own one day, screw the ‘owning your own pub’ dream, this is the new, healthy dream – own your own thrive jucie bar :D I just hope our nation becomes more interested in places like this, living in the deep south I almost feel like it wouldnt work as a business here :( One day…


Red Deception June 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

One day I will visit Ontario, and I will be sure to hit up this spot in Waterloo!! Thanks for the review – I struggle to find goo vegan eateries when I travel. This place looks perfect!


Kat June 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I went there this afternoon and tried a Kale Mohito (virgin of course) and it was actually the most amazing drink I’ve ever had. My boyfriend had the Sangria (also virgin :) ) and it was out of this world.

Thank you so much for helping me find this amazing place! I’m definitely going there a lot!


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Ohmygosh BEAUUUUTIFUL! We need juice bars around heeuh!


janet June 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Yes, the Big Green Smoothie is great!! I agree, this is a great resto, and I think they should move closer to Toronto!! :)


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes June 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

dang I was just near Waterloo I shoulda stopped by :) next time next time fo sure!!


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh June 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Looks awesome and the atmosphere is so calming too! Looks like you could easily get your ohm on!


Namaste Gurl June 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Oh my golly- gee, I can see why you love that restaurant– i’d be in heaven, too! I hope heaven is like that someday, hehe :)
Everything you showed looks WONDERFUL :)


Pure2raw Twins June 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm

that restaurant sounds amazing, and the food looked to good to be true!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I barely ever go to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, but this place sounds worth the trip! I’m crossing my fingers that I can find some nut-free dishes there… but if not, even their juice looks worth the drive!


kaila @ healthy helper! June 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm

That place looks AH-mazing! I would come all the way up to your neck of the woods just to got there!!! And to meet you of course LOL!


angela June 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm

u should!


Zestful Lou June 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I really wish a vegan restaurant like this would open up near me. Has anyone else noticed that vegan restaurants seem to be exclusively asian cuisine?


Caz June 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm

YUM! Now you have me craving Caesars. I must buy all the stuff to make them today!

Also, love the “worth the drive to Acton” reference. Makes me miss canada :-)


Caesar Lover June 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Wow. This is such perfect timing. Not only am I currently enjoying a yummy (virgin) caesar, I’m also considering a job offer in Waterloo. I’ve been hesitant to accept, I haven’t heard great things about the city’s culture and restaurants. You might have changed my mind about Waterloo :D

Any other good restaurants in Waterloo that I should try?


Andrew Lowry June 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

Thank-you for this review. I have a friend who lives just a few km away so next time I’m visiting I will have to take her. It is unfortunate that the evening hours are so short but I guess an early supper. Again thank-you. Andrew, Niagara Falls, ON


mi-an June 26, 2011 at 12:48 am

that place looks fabulous!!! i’m in california but i would go there if i lived there!


Tichina June 26, 2011 at 4:51 am

YummMM! Everything looks amazing; the decor, the meals, and that desert! I hope you get inspired to create your own version of that ice cream :):) hint hint haha


Erin June 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

I can’t believe I live in Kitchener and didn’t know this place existed! It’s definitely on the top of my to do list now :)


Cara Craves... June 26, 2011 at 6:11 am

I love the look of this place…my sis and I already have a plan to go and check it out this week…thanks for sharing!


LizAshlee June 26, 2011 at 7:48 am

I definitely understand why you would want to live within mouth’s reach to the restaurant…looks amazing! Wish we had one nearby!!

Have a beautiful Sunday!


Sally June 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

I am lucky enough to live in Waterloo and Thrive is my favourite place to eat. Such a great addition to Waterloo. The Big Green Smoothie is AMAZING!


rebecca lustig June 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

I need to move to Ontario… because THAT is a REAL sandwich.


Raney June 26, 2011 at 8:43 am

Mmmm! MUST stop by. I don’t live very far, so this is a must-visit!


Tracy @ Commit To Fit June 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

I have heard such wonderful things about Thrive, it looks fantastic!


Roz June 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

I’ll certainly be checking this placeout next time I’m down in your neck of the woods. Thanks for the review!!


Katherine June 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I wish there was a place like this near me.


Savannah (Sweet and Savvy) June 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Looks like such a neat place! Wish there was a place like it where I live!


Jenny June 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I just started grad school in Waterloo this year, I am so going to check this place out! Thanks for the tip.


Danielle June 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm

This place looks great! I went to the University of Waterloo for 5 years, and absolutely loved uptown Waterloo. Such a great spot. This place must be somewhat new because I have never seen it before! I will have to take a look next time I am back there!


Angela June 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Hello my long lost sister ;)

This place sound so awesome and right up our alley! We have a place hear called D’sozo and it is very similiar, everything is yummy and so healthy! The chef is from France :-)


Amanda Jewell @ Science&Bananas June 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm

OMG, I want everything you ate/drank. I’m envious of your stomach right now :-)


michelle June 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I love how you describe “feeling like a pain in the ass”. I often feel the same and couldn’t have put it better!


Justeen @ Blissful Baking June 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I need to find a juice bar near me! The one you had sounds great!


Elizabeth June 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm

What a delightful looking place!
Wonderful photos of the food–my mouth was watering.
Peace and Raw Health,


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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