Photographs by Read McKendree
Life, fueled by plants. That’s the down-to-earth mission of The Stand. Carissa and Mike Hvizdo are the owners of the juice bar and eatery, with locations in Norwalk (2005), Fairfield (2011), South Norwalk (2014) and, most recently, Westport (2015); up next is Greenwich (2016). Of course, they offer juice—which is healthful and delicious, first sip to last—but also snacks, such as seasonal hummus with vegetables; salads, like romaine with pumpkin seeds, cauliflower croutons and dressing; sandwiches, like the roasted chickpea roll-up with fresh ginger; and tasty gluten-free baked goods. As The Stand celebrates its tenth year, it’s clear that its taste for honest, real food is winning over foodies hungry for nutrition.
Carissa and Mike came together from two different perspectives. She was raised in a farm town and has always felt connected to the land. He turned to holistic medicine to help him overcome a health crisis. “I spent six weeks just after my thirtieth birthday healing through raw food and juices in Florida, after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease,” he says. “It changed my life and my relationship with food, my body, and my compassion for other living things.”
The two met each other at a farmer’s market in south Miami in 2005. “Mike had a Connecticut license plate and it opened the conversation that has lasted almost eleven years,” says Carissa.
Now, they help others turn to the power of fruits and vegetables. “We had no idea what we were doing,” says Carissa of those early days behind the counter. “All we knew was that we believed in our product, and we had an opportunity to introduce an organic, GMO-free, sustainable, vegan-based product to people.”
The ingredients they use in their drinks and dishes are sourced locally, including from their own Hideaway Farm—fifteen gorgeous acres on the Connecticut River.
Carissa and Mike’s business is rooted in offering juice cleanses. They spend a lot of time educating their customers about the role of alkalizing foods in the detoxification process. Customers can now choose cleanses that last from one day to ten days; the juices are made fresh each morning and ready for pick up at The Stand before 8 a.m. In January and February, people often add ginger to their juices, Carissa says, adding, “The Root Veggie is a great way to keep iron and minerals pumping, and most ingredients are still sourced in Connecticut throughout the winter. The Hempster, blended, is a winter favorite, a little play on applesauce feels warming, but it is still a great post-workout protein shake.”
Excited about the latest location, she says, “Westport is a community that has supported us for many years at the Westport Farmer’s Market and our other locations. This one is special though. I hope people will use us as a service, post-workout, and a lunch spot. The space is charming and filled with light. Our Westport clientele are gobbling up gluten-free, super-clean options like crazy—curry collard wraps, green salads, green smoothies and chia—an educated consumer really allows us to push it a little further with our offerings.” Expect even more über-clean options.
1200 Post Rd. E., 203-557-0539; thestand juice.com