Alex Matthews wants you to juice your way to health
Alex Matthews loves juice. The energetic British transplant first made a name for himself as a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur. In the early 2000s, Matthews helped pioneer the designer denim market at G-Star RAW. Soon he parlayed that success into music, another of his lifelong passions, when he founded AgencyDJs. The company harnesses the power of music to help cultivate brand connections with their clients. Lacoste, Topshop and MAC are among a few that have enlisted Matthews’ talents. Alas, all was not well.
A lingering battle with psoriasis kept Matthews from truly reveling in his success. When a friend introduced him to fresh-pressed juices chock-full of vegetables, he was admittedly intrigued. Yet the savvy entrepreneur remained skeptical. Could just juice really cure him? That’s when he noticed his nagging pain subside. His skin started healing. Matthews became a convert. He parlayed his new passion for fresh-squeezed juices into an epicurean empire known as Juice Served Here. Now Matthews and his partner, Greg Alterman, encourage others to get behind their “Drink Ourselves Clean” mantra: A healthier life starts with proper nutrition.
At the recent opening of the JSH Lido Marina Village cafe, Matthews squeezed us into his busy schedule. We learned about his favorite new dish, why he loves the Balboa Peninsula and where you can find him spinning records in his free time.
Coast: Why is Lido Marina Village the ideal location for Juice Served Here’s
Alex matthews: We choose Lido Marina Village primarily because we fell in love with the setting, but lots of factors played into our decision. Lindsay Parton (president of property owner DJM Capital Partners) had a very clear vision of co-tenants, merchandising and a directional storytelling that mirrored our philosophies. … This was a mostly forgotten area of a beautiful section of the Newport Beach peninsula that had long been plagued with poor retailers, parking and energy issues. Lido Marina Village represents a return to glory with a modern, contemporary twist.
Coast: You use local purveyors such as Bread Artisan Bakery and Common Room Roasters. How did you find them? And why do you think it’s important to use local artisan products?
AM: Our goal with this cafe was to embrace our surroundings. From the very first renderings of the space, furniture design, menus and purveyors, the goal was to become an amenity to locals
who are seeking a healthy breakfast or lunch. This core value meant searching for the best in everything local to Newport – bread, coffee, produce, artists, team members and partners.
Coast: Speaking of breakfast, you mentioned that I must order the brioche egg sandwich. What makes it so special?
AM: That sandwich is literally my favorite thing on the menu. It’s so fresh, full of flavor and nutritional while being slightly naughty.
Coast: How did you craft your menu?
AM: Menu items are a team project. We pool our ideas, and the best ones typically win. I love to cook. It’s a tradition in my house that every Sunday I cook a meal. Our front door is open and people come and go all day. It’s a very British thing to do. We wanted to bring some of that spirit to the JSH Marina Cafe through the environment, staff and the menu. Guests are seen as friends coming in for something delicious to eat and hopefully a good time!
Coast: How did you discover local suppliers, what you call your “farmer friends.”
AM: We have a team of buyers whose job in life is to seek out the best produce, at the best prices. However, we also believe in sustainable relationships directly with farmers. After all, 3 percent of all farms in America are organic. That number is growing rapidly, but it’s an expensive path for young farmers and one that needs support from customers like JSH. We try hard to support farmers who grow organically and have great products.
Coast: Over the years you’ve worn many hats. How did your time with G-Star RAW and AgencyDJs influence you?
AM: G-Star taught me many things: How to be global. How to communicate a few things really well, and not a lot of things badly. How to be a product-focused brand. How to negotiate. That stays with you. AgencyDJs is still a going concern for me. I co-founded that business with a vision to provide clients with music for events, stores and the web because I was tired of hearing bad music in those situations. Music is still a big part of my life, and I try to DJ as much as possible.
Coast: How did those endeavors help you come up with the Juice Served Here concept?
AM: It’s linked to my psoriasis. Drinking 5 pounds of vegetables every day gives you micronutrients and enzymes that are fundamental to healthy skin. This was life-changing for me. Drinking cold-pressed juices every day cleared up my condition after years of pain. This was hard to ignore. JSH was born.
Alex Matthews plays records once a month at Sound Nightclub. :: soundcloud.com/kiddkitt