August 22, 2012

Natural Foodie: Roost is the new perch for raw organic food and juices

The new Portland restaurant features an all-plant-based menu.

By Avery Yale Kamila
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Kathleen Flanagan and Jeanette Richelson are opening Roost House of Juice on Free Street in Portland, featuring organic and vegan juices and smoothies, and an all-plant-based menu.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Kathleen Flanagan pours a Shaktini.

Additional Photos Below



HOURS: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; noon to 8 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday

WHERE: 11 Free St., Portland

INFO: 899-4275;

All the recipes are the result of extensive experimentation, testing and tweaking.

"Nothing tastes like grass," Flanagan said with a grin. "That's one thing we're really clear on."

While there will always be juices and raw treats ready for people who are on their way to work or don't have time to wait, the restaurant aims to provide a more relaxed vibe complete with table service.

"Our intention is to create an atmosphere that's not a fast food juice bar," Flanagan said. "We don't want anyone to feel rushed. We want people to come here and just take a moment."

Customers will be greeted at the door and invited to either visit the to-go bar at the back of the restaurant or seat themselves at the large bar or one of the tables, where they will be given menus and served.

Food offerings include things like dehydrated granola and house-made whipped cashew cream from the breakfast menu, collard green wraps filled with vegetables and house-made nut spreads from the small plates menu, and Roosticles, a dairy-free, soy-free frozen popsicle in three flavors from the dessert menu.

The menu may be distinct among Maine restaurants, but the owners don't intend it to be a statement about how people should eat, but rather an option for folks looking for a burst of energy and an infusion of healthfulness.

"From the get-go, we wanted to make sure we weren't excluding anyone or preaching that anyone should eat a certain way," Richelson said.

Richelson has studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and has training in raw food preparation.

When she lived in California, Richelson worked at the iconic health food restaurant Cafe Gratitude, a chain of raw vegan restaurants in and around San Francisco. That's where she was introduced to raw foods and the concept of Sacred Commerce. The philosophy advocates for creating businesses that provide a path to spiritual awakening by incorporating concepts of sustainability, respect and reverence into the workplace.

Richelson said they choose to incorporate the philosophy into their business model because "we wanted to create move vitality for everyone who comes into contact with Roost."

Before moving to Maine a couple years ago, Flanagan lived in Manhattan for 10 years and worked for high-end restaurants owned by the BR Guest Hospitality corporation.

While working for the company, she attended wine college, where she gained extensive knowledge of the industry. She used the experience when working with Crush Distributors to create a list of wines that are produced using organic, sustainable or vegan methods. Served by the glass, the wine is priced between $6.50 and $9.

While Richelson learned about raw food while working in a restaurant, Flanagan said she first encountered raw food at a juice bar in New York City.

"I can distinctly remember my first hardcore green juice," Flanagan said. "I canceled my cable to afford my green juice at $8 a day."


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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Additional Photos

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Jeanette Richelson prepares a Regulator.

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Beverages featured at Roost include, clockwise from left, Carrot Cake Smoothie, which tastes like its namesake with a mix of carrot juice, ginger, nutmeg and raisins; Regulator, a green juice concoction of kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, lemon and apple; AB&J Protein Smoothie (or almond butter & jelly), made with a mix of almond milk, almond butter, blueberries, flax seeds, hemp seeds and tahini; and Fancy-Full Juice Shaktini, served in a martini glass and made from beets, apples and blueberries garnished with a touch of beet pulp.


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