Juice Gets A Makeover

Imagine a place of ultimate serenity with the softest hint of freshness. Your mouth starts watering the moment you walk in the door and you instantly feel at home. According to owner Gina McLeod, this is only part of the ambiance she envisioned for her new business.

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This is inside of Rabbit Martinis. It’s the perfect place to make yourself at home, get some juice, and enjoy free WiFi! photo credit: Lauren Estlinbaum

“I like to describe it as urban grassroots,” she said. “It’s got a little mix of your urban flair but then it has your down-home grassroots theme. It’s like Starbucks meets the farm.”

McLeod said her new juice station, Rabbit Martinis, in Cactus Alley at 2610 Salem Ave., is a project she’s been stuck on for a very long time. She said after teaching high school journalism in Andrews, Texas, as a single mom with three kids (plus being involved with contract photography on the side) she was exhausted.

McLeod said she loved what she did, but there was an unsettling feeling inside of her for almost two years that she simply could not shake.  She said she started praying a lot and asked God for direction in order to calm her uncertainty.

Gina McLeod, the owner of Rabbit Martinis said she has literally put her blood, sweat and tears into her business. Photo credit from Rabbit Martinis Facebook.

Gina McLeod, the owner of Rabbit Martinis said she has literally put her blood, sweat and tears into her business. Photo credit from Rabbit Martinis Facebook.

“My prayer was, ‘God, your plans are probably more creative than anything I could come up with on my own,’” McLeod said.

She said she had always been a creative person, but she still had not found a sense of direction for what she wanted to do or why she continued to feel unsettled. McLeod said everything changed when one of her daughters got her a martini set for Christmas. She said she started making her salads in the martini shaker.

McLeod said she experimented with her salads by mixing in different oils and vinegars and started making even more healthy dishes. She said she began making them in martini glasses and called them rabbit martinis. McLeod said even in the middle of the night she would wake up with a new recipe running through her mind, and she would have to write them down the second they popped into her head.

That’s when she got the idea for a juice bar, she said, and Lubbock seemed like the perfect location to make her dream come true. As McLeod likes to say, she took a leap of faith.

After being in business for about 15 weeks, McLeod said, she set goals for Rabbit Martinis instantly. She said her goal was to get 100 regulars within their first year of business. McLeod said Cactus Alley seemed like a great location to attract customers.

McLeod said she purchases Rabbit Martinis’ fruit from local farmers so that the drinks are as fresh as possible.

“Everything is conventional or organic,” she said. “We try to get things organic, but we are in West Texas. You can’t really juice cotton or peanuts. I use a local apple orchard from Idalou and he delivers every Tuesday and Friday. He’s sweet as he can be and he brings his little dolly full of carrots and apples, mint, basil, ginger.”

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This is the first half of the menu. All ingredients are either organic or fresh. Photo credit: Lauren Estlinbaum

 

McLeod said if she had to pick her favorite thing on the menu it would be the juice concoction called Heart & Soil. She said she made up the recipe alongside all of the other drink items on the menu.

Kate DeWolfe, a human sciences major from Austin, said she really enjoys Rabbit Martinis and is beyond thrilled that a juice bar is finally in Lubbock.

“I always go to a local juice bar every time I go home, so the fact that Lubbock has Rabbit Martinis makes me excited,” she said. “Plus, it’s delicious. I will definitely be going back soon.”

McLeod said by opening Rabbit Martinis she has learned more than she has in her entire life. She said she has two degrees that could not compete with what she has learned through the business. McLeod said it has literally been a blood, sweat and tears process.

She said she experienced a lot of resistance from locals at first. McLeod said many people told her she was in cattle country and by not opening a restaurant that offered a menu stocked with beer, queso, or burgers that she might as well give up right then and there. She said she took the community’s input into consideration, but knew there was potential for her business.

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This is the second half of the Rabbit Martinis menu. Photo credit: Lauren Estlinbaum

“Our philosophy is keep the filth out of your mouth, mind and body. It’s all very fresh, and I’m really picky,” McLeod said. “I drink it all day long, so everyone can rest assured that if I’ll drink it, then it’s good.”

*To learn more about Rabbit Martinis like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. The juice bar is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays.

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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