Orange Avocado Juicery




BOARDMAN – With barely two months under her belt as co-owner of Orange Avocado Juicery, Laurie Chamoun is already looking to the future and envisioning what could be.

If her family’s success in feeding and nourishing our community is any indication, Laurie is well on her way to bigger things.

image3The new business, which opened Aug. 1, cold presses juice with a hydraulic press using thousands of pounds of pressure to extract the most liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. No additional heat or oxygen is used, meaning no nutrients are lost in the heat of traditional pasteurization.

“It’s the best way to consume juice,” she said, adding it’s made from local produce when available and bottled on site.

Laurie said a big part of her inspiration for opening stemmed from her father Camille’s battle with Stage 4 colon cancer. A few years ago, he was given a few months to live but survived four years – something Laurie attributes in part to juicing.

“We have customers who come for juice right after having chemotherapy or radiation treatments,” she said. “Most guests are educated about the benefits of the organic ingredients we provide in our cold pressed juices and they’re extremely excited that we are here.”

The Chamoun family has a long, successful track record for business in the Mahoning Valley. I first met Laurie in fourth grade when her family moved to Canfield from Michigan. They owned a Little Caesar’s pizza shop in Boardman and grew the franchise to 14 locations in the tri-county area.

She and I graduated together then reconnected a few years later when I discovered her family’s newest venture – Aladdin’s Eatery.

The family-owned franchise (she operates six) specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine and began with one restaurant in Boardman. Aladdin’s has been around nearly 20 years and there are 33 locations stretching to North Carolina.

That type of growth and success, along with lessons from her dad, has prepared Laurie for her latest project.

On the day of our interview, Kate Sarver, Michelle French and I visited with Laurie and her staff, admiring the cute décor, spotless floors and fixtures and the tempting samples they offered generously.

image1-2Kate, who is pregnant with twins, sampled several and said her favorite was the “Pretty in Pink,” a juice blended with grapefruit, strawberries and beets. She left with four drinks and said she wanted to try a little bit of everything.

“I figured any of these would be nutrient packed,” she said.

Michelle said she’s been feeling rundown lately and wanted more energy. She loved the signature “Orange Avocado,” with those two ingredients, plus apple. She also sampled “Bright Eyes,” with orange, carrot and ginger, and “Love Your Heart,” with strawberry, ginger and beet.

She said the latter was delicious and “earthy,” with a bit of sweetness and spice.

“It’s so hard to choose a drink when I go in there,” she said. “Sometimes I get a few and give them to friends and relatives who I know will appreciate the health benefits from drinking fresh juice.”

14199437_1081036178645649_7542176142574120450_nMy favorite on the menu that keeps me coming back is the “Midnight Lemonade.” This combines watermelon, lemon and activated charcoal. Laurie said the charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them.

This slightly sweet, yet tart, combination just feels good going down and lacks the grittiness some charcoal containing drinks are known for. I’m happy to report it also helped me recover faster after a (rare) late night out and a few beers.

On the day we visited, I opted for a shot of wheatgrass, which is hard to come by in this area, and a “Boost Shot,” which combines lemon, ginger and turmeric, an ingredient well documented for its ability to reduce inflammation, improve digestion and fight free radicals.

This is the only flu shot I will need this year. It’s tart, refreshing and slightly warming, and I swear you can feel it improving your insides. The “Cannon Shot,” which has lime, cayenne and turmeric, is equally as delicious.

image4-1Co-owner Pepe Parish chose the name Orange Avocado because orange is his favorite color and avocados his favorite food. He began making raw, vegan and gluten-free baked goods under that name at Aladdin’s two years ago and has added a few confections at Orange Avocado because of their popularity.

In fact, his treats are the only solid food on the menu – for now. On the day we visited, he had cinnamon pecan cookies and maple coconut macaroons. In the near future, the two plan to add acai berry bowls to the menu – a treat of blended, frozen fruit topped with fresh super fruits and served in a bowl.

Juices and shots are stored in a refrigerated case and free of added sugar, fillers, additives and preservatives.

Because it’s cold pressed, the juice has a shorter shelf life than juice that’s pasteurized and commercially produced. Laurie said her green juices should be refrigerated and consumed within 36 hours of purchase and the rest have a 72-hour window. Once opened, they should be used within 24 hours, she added.

Packed your lunch for work but forgot to add veggies? Stop at Orange Avocado for “The Garden,” which I like to call “liquid salad.” It combines cucumber, celery, apple and carrot and is delicious.

The Orange Avocado also offers nut milks. “Myracle Mylk” combines almonds, dates, cinnamon and vanilla, and has a smooth, slightly sweet taste. Cashew milk, with cashews, dates and spirulina (blue-green algae), is also available.

A 16-oz. juice, packed with two to five pounds of produce, costs $8.75 and contains two servings. Shots are 1 oz. and cost $2.95.

Laurie is teaming up with a local nutritionist to work on plans for a juice cleanse. Cleanses have gained popularity in recent years for their health benefits, and Laurie wants her customers to have that option.

Though there are no current plans for additional locations, Laurie said she’s always thinking about possibilities for the future.

The juicery, at 1393 Boardman-Canfield Road, is situated between Hot Head Burritos and Pure Barre. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed Sundays.


The Courthouse Inn & Restaurant



LISBON – Art is in every detail at The Courthouse Inn & Restaurant.

That’s a pretty broad statement, I realize.

Although I consider myself a pretty good writer, I know my words will fail me at capturing the magic of this place. But bear with me – hopefully you will come away with some idea of just how brilliant it is.

After staring at my computer screen for much longer than necessary I realized the complexity of this restaurant is best captured simply. The food is great, the vibe even better.

image5Located in Ohio’s oldest brick building at 116 W. Lincoln Way, this restaurant and inn offers vegetarian comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, along with brunch Sundays. Four guestrooms upstairs overlook a courtyard with a fountain, brick pizza oven and tables made from jade imported from China.

I hesitate to call this place ‘fancy.’ It’s eclectic, with details so rich they could’ve only come from the brain of an artist.

“Restoring the building was an 11-year adventure,” owner Renee Lewis said, explaining there were no initial plans for a restaurant or inn. But coming back to town to visit family, she said she realized there was nowhere nearby she wanted to stay.

Lewis, a Salem native, has had wild, yet somewhat quiet, success designing jewelry you’ve seen on A-listers and red carpets around the world. Think “Sex & the City.”

She lives in Manhattan, but travels often to Columbiana County to visit friends and relatives. She wants to be close to the action so the building’s toIMG_3159p floor is all hers.

I find myself making the 15-minute drive from Canfield to Lisbon more often than I have time for, just for the experience. Whether I dine alone or with friends, I’ve found the food to be better, the company more interesting, all because of the details.

I went back in early April with my friend Mary Hall and fellow reviewer Michelle French.

Michelle and I started with a simple house salad ($5) and tried three dressings – balsamic, cilantro-lime and roasted onion, which we liked best. The lettuce, red onion and other vegetables were crisp and flavorful. The dressings were light, homemade and refreshing.

IMG_3161For lunch, I had the bruschetta cavatappi ($12) with blistered grape tomatoes, spinach, onions and black olives tossed in a white wine garlic sauce. The meal combined all the elements I like in a pasta – al dente noodles, a light, fresh sauce and a sprinkling of
flavorful vegetables. I was not disappointed.

Mary chose the mac & cheese ($12), a hearty portion of cavatappi pasta in a creamy English cheddar sauce with pickled jalapenos and seasoned, toasted breadcrumbs.

“It’s like takingthe best of mac & cheese and jalapeno poppers and combining the two,” she said.

Michelle had a bowl of creamy tomato soup and the southwestern veggie burger, a house made black bean burger seared and served with image1 (1)corn salsa, avocado garlic mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion on a toasted brioche bun. This was $14 and included a side of fries.
She was impressed with both the food and atmosphere, saying, “The food was delicious, and saying the décor was beautiful is an understatement – I would definitely go back, even if it was just to look around.”
Assistant chefs Tiffany Littleton and Diane Lehman came out of the kitchen to greet us. Lewis called them both exceptional and said she’s excited a new executive chef is joining staff in the next few weeks.

It was refreshing to see the menu had no “fake meats” made from soy or other protein IMG_3162alternatives. Lewis said she wanted recognizable menu items that meat eaters would understand.

The focus is on fresh, organic, farm-to-table ingredients. Pies and cakes are made from scratch.

Many ingredients are sourced locally and menu offerings are based on availability and the season. Appetizers include three cheese and arugula quesadillas ($12), risotto cheese bites ($11) and Welsh rarebits, which combine English cheddar beer cheese, toasted sourdough bread and grape tomato salsa ($12).

Breakfast options include Belgian waffles ($11), biscuits in roasted corn gravy ($12), apple pie oatmeal ($5), a loaded omelet ($13) and deep fried French toast served with Ohio Valley maple syrup, powdered sugar and seasonal IMG_3160berry jam ($12).

Dinner selections include lasagna ($18), roasted corn risotto ($21), eggplant parm ($20) and potpie made from braised Yukon potatoes, onions, peas, carrots, mushrooms and roasted corn in herbed gravy ($17).

Lewis credits her husband Michael Spirtos for being every bit involved in the project as she has. “He’s my magic,” she said.

A room with a king size bed is $250 per night and features mattresses hand sewn in Germany, heated towel racks and inspiring artwork. A room with a queen bed will set you back $225 and includes the same amenities. Both prices include breakfast.

Lewis praised contractor Don Dunlap and his crew from North Lima for their work on the project. “They make dreams come true,” she said. “They’re artists and they hire the best subcontractors.”

Aside from loving the place, I go there to repay the kindness Lewis showed Mary and I years ago when we were fresh out of college. After I wrote a story for a local newspaper on the success she found in New York, Lewis extended a very generous invite for us to stay in one of her unoccupied brownstones during a trip we planned.

There was artwork and detail in every square inch of her property.

Though I had been to the restaurant a few times, Mary was not surprised by what she saw when she first stepped inside.

“The overall theme is love and warmth,” Mary said. “She’s fully passionate with what she’s doing here and there’s not a doorknob in the place that hasn’t been given careful thought.”

Perhaps most impressive for Mary was that, in a place covered in glass and mirrors, she didn’t spot one fingerprint.

I haven’t eaten there at night, but I take assistant manager Cami Barnes’ word for it when she says the place turns magical after dark.

“The lighting is amazing,” she said. “This place glitters in the evening.”

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