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Hillside Ave. juice bar offers a toast to your health

The man nodded and Grimsley, owner of the shop on Hillside Avenue, went about cutting up fruits, juicing vegetables and adding nutritional supplements. But...

By Courtney Dentch

“It’s a green drink,” Patricia Grimsley warned the customer at Mima’s Juice Bar. “Is that OK?”

The man nodded and Grimsley, owner of the shop on Hillside Avenue, went about cutting up fruits, juicing vegetables and adding nutritional supplements. But when the first-time customer saw his smoothie was the color of spinach leaves, he hesitated before taking a sip.

“That’s good,” he said, breaking into a smile.

The man is just one of many people who have discovered Mima’s Juice Bar, which opened at 153-33B Hillside Ave. in Jamaica in May. Grimsley, a holistic health counselor, and her partner, Alfred Darryl Littles, offer a rainbow of health juices, smoothies and teas to ease problems ranging from diabetes to stamina, memory to ulcers and skin blemishes to longevity, Grimsley said.

“Our underlying theme is health,” she said. “Everything we sell is healing.”

Grimsley, who is certified in holistic health practices, designed the menu of beverages around common ailments, using the natural healing powers of fruit, vegetables and herbal supplements, she said. The herbal teas, custom-mixed by an herbologist, tortilla wraps and salads complete the offerings, she said. The juices and smoothies are priced between $3 and $5.50, and the tea blends range from $1.25 to $4.

“We try to identify some of the more popular health concerns,” Grimsley said. “They help. They won’t heal, but over a protracted period of time you will see improvement.”

Most common in the Jamaica area is diabetes, she said. Grimsley spikes her drinks with sweeteners, including honey, sugar and pure cane sugar, but offers stevia, a plant-based sweetener that is 30 times sweeter than sugar but does not have the same effect on blood sugar levels, she said.

“We make the juices taste good,” Grimsley said. “Most health foods are bland or yucky. We make it good for them and we make it taste good, too. It’s a stealth tactic.”

Drinks can also be customized, with ingredients or supplements mixed in or taken out, she said.

Mima’s, which opened on May 22, is the product of what Grimsley calls a “schizophrenic life.” The Jamaica resident worked in human resources for corporations for 26 years while living a healthful life outside of work by practicing martial arts, eating organic foods and learning about nutrients, she said. About three years ago, Grimsley gave up her dual life, she said.

“Health was always a hobby for me but I decided I wanted to do it full time,” Grimsley said.

The store is also a partial indulgence for Grimsley, who walks to work every day, when she noticed there was a lack of health food alternatives in her community.

“When I go to Manhattan I can go to the organic stores and get the health drinks, but I can’t get them in my own neighborhood,” she said. “I saw a lot of people here who wanted this. It was a golden opportunity here because there’s nothing like this here.”

In the first two months, business has been slow, but new customers walk in daily, Grimsley said.

“It’s steadily picking up,” she said. “Every day someone comes in who says ‘I didn’t know you were here.’”

And the name? Grimsley was given the nickname ‘Mima’ after becoming the guardian of two sisters, she said. The word, an endearment some use for a grandmother, has always felt comforting, Grimsley said.

“Mima’s means a nurturing environment to me,” Grimsley said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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