Meet my BFF. We'll call her...Wilma. She's not a vegan. She's not a vegetarian. It's possible she's never even turned on her stove.
To her, a fun night out involves a platter of nachos and bottomless margaritas. Can I convince this skeptic that treating your body well by spending an evening at The Springs, a vegan restaurant and urban oasis spa, is just as fab?
The Springs is gorgeous, with an accessible feel and a welcoming, friendly vibe. Each end of the bright space is open to the fresh air, and the high ceilings are lined with skylights. Although the building is essentially a big warehouse, clever dividers and seating areas make for cozy little nooks, where you can eat, or have a glass of wine and enjoy the free wi-fi. Jared Stein, the friendly co-owner of The Springs, told us that much of the materials that went into creating the modern and luxurious space are repurposed and eco-friendly. At the front, there's some shaded outdoor and pet-friendly seating, hanging bike racks, and a pop-up Atomic Garden shop. While you're waiting for a table or take out, you can browse the high-end selection of adorable goodies.
Wilma's Take: "This place is actually really pretty. I love this little shop. It would be a great place to get some Christmas presents. It looks like a normal restaurant in here, so I have to admit my hopes are slightly raised. Now leave me alone; mama needs to shop."
In the back of the building, you'll find the peaceful yoga area. The Springs offers 7 or 8 classes a day in its roomy studio and even provides its employees with free, staff-only classes and great discounts. Stein believes that to create a place where people want to be, you first need to invest in the people who work there. Indeed, every staff member we encountered seemed thrilled to be at work. The positive energy was infectious.
Wilma's Take: "It's pretty good to get free yoga just for working here. Once I worked somewhere where I got free ice."
Just up the stairs is the Wellness Center. This pretty space is elegant and quiet. The Springs offers an array of wellness programs, including an infrared sauna, acupuncture, a variety of massage techniques, and gravity colon hydrotherapy.
Wilma's Take: "I love this. I want to do everything in here and never leave. Well, I mean, not the gravity colon thing. Everything but the colonic." Here's a pic of Wilma considering a colonic in the Wellness Center.
The Restaurant (and Juice Bar!)
Wilma and I ate a fantastic meal. The extensive menu is vegan, organic (even down to the spices), and gluten-free. Nothing is heated over 118 degrees to retain nutrition. The Springs also offers organic wine, beers, and cold-pressed juice. If you don't have time to sit down for a full meal, you can order smoothies, salads, and snacks at the juice bar. The servers are friendly and well-informed; our service was lovely. Wilma was most impressed with the juice, vegan nut cheese platter, and dessert.
Wilma's Take: "This juice is straight up incredible. I would drive back over here just for the juice anytime. I love how it has some sweetness and complexity, but isn't overly sweet. I'm on a juice high. I feel hopped up on juice. Who needs wine?"
Although not willing to turn in her omnivore card just yet, Wilma had to admit that she had an urban oasis blast. "I would honestly love to go back anytime for a lady date. I can totally see us doing some yoga, infrared sauna, then having some snacks." When I called her the next day, she reported feeling pretty incredible. "God, I feel fantastic! I have a ton of energy. I'm crediting it almost entirely to that juice. I have to say, it's a pretty nice to start the week off feeling so good instead of being all hung over. What are you doing later today? Wanna go get more juice?"
If you have a Wilma in your life, try converting her in the lush surrounding at The Springs. I guarantee she'll thank you for it!
Find Sarah at thisfitmom.com
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Images: Sarah Olive Bergeson