Biz Beat

Get juiced (in a good way) at new Modesto spot offering healthy fruit, veggie snacks

Juice hasn’t just been for boxes for a long time now.

While the juice bar trend hasn’t skipped Modesto and the Central Valley, it’s certainly getting a big boost from the arrival of the new Nekter Juice Bar. The expanding national franchise, founded and based in Southern California, sells freshly pressed juices as well as dairy-free ice cream, smoothies and acai bowls.

The new Modesto location — one of more than 145 across California, the Western states and beyond — opened for business in the Safeway shopping center at the corner of McHenry and Briggsmore avenues next to Orange Theory last week.

Franchise owner Mark Sarale is no stranger to the region’s health and fitness fans. He has owned Max Muscle in Stockton for 24 years and used to own the longtime Modesto location as well before selling it last year. But now he has gone all-in with Nekter. Last spring he opened a location in Stockton, and at the start of the year bought another in Roseville. He has eight more in the works in the Sacramento region, with three under construction.

“I’ve been looking for something else to do, and I’ve always been in the health and fitness industry,” Sarale said. “My wife went to a spin class, and her friend told her about the Roseville Nekter. Everything was fresh, and there’s no processed sugar. And we loved it.”

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Owner Mark Sarale makes a carrot juice at Nekter Juice Bar in Modesto, Calif., Friday, July 26, 2019. Andy Alfaro

Sarale said Nekter sets itself apart by fresh-making its non-dairy, vegan cashew milk daily. It also presses its fruits and vegetables to order and uses no juice concentrate. The vast majority of its menu also is vegan. The menu features no processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup, instead relying on the natural sugars in whole fruits and vegetables and agave syrup for added sweetness.

So, as any Nekter enthusiast might admonish you, don’t compare them to that other juice joint (cough, Jamba Juice, cough).

What you will find on the menu are juices like The Greenie (parsley, spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, lettuce, apple) and The Buzz (carrot, celery, lemon and ginger) and The Little Beet (cucumber, beet, carrot, lemon, orange and fennel) which run $6.35 for 16 oz, $8.35 for 24 oz and $10.35 for 32 oz.

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Pink Flamingo smoothie (dragon fruit, strawberry, pineapple, agave nectar, and coconut water), left, and The Buzz pressed juice (carrot, orange, lemon and ginger) at Nekter Juice Bar in Modesto, Calif., Friday, July 26, 2019. Andy Alfaro

The smoothies are hailed for their “superfood” ingredients like blueberries, nuts and acai berry ($6.35-$8.35). And those acai berries make a reappearance in the acai bowls, filled with fruits, nuts, berries, granola and more ($8.35). You can add protein and other boosters to any of the smoothies or bowl as well.

The 1,200-square-foot space, formerly a pita restaurant, has been transformed. Sarale said he gutted the interior and gave it a clean, modern makeover. The shop also has a grab-and-go section with prepackaged juices, snacks and other items.

You also can purchase one-, three- or six-day juice cleanses from the refrigerated case. The cleanse juices range from a celery detox to charcoal and lemonade, tumeric citrus and classic greens.

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Nekter Juice Bar in Modesto, Calif., Friday, July 26, 2019. Andy Alfaro

The Modesto Nekter opened with 18 employees. It will have a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 10 with specials and more.

Nekter Juice Bar, 2001 McHenry Ave., Suite N, is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 209-408-8407 or visit

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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