Heading back to work after a week off for the holidays, I skipped my usual Monday morning coffee stop to check out Grandview's new juice bar, Zest Juice Co. (Truth be told, I needed something light and vitamin-packed to offset the previous day's second helping of cookies.)

Heading back to work after a week off for the holidays, I skipped my usual Monday morning coffee stop to check out Grandview's new juice bar, Zest Juice Co. (Truth be told, I needed something light and vitamin-packed to offset the previous day's second helping of cookies.)

Standing behind the counter in the natural and clean strip mall storefront was co-owner Natalie Rusch. She greeted me with a big smile, asked if I wanted a sample, then proceeded to pour me a taste of every juice in their lineup.

It sounds like a simple gesture-the offer of a free sample-but it's one that speaks to the attitude at Zest, which opened in mid-December. It's friendly, casual and completely unintimidating; all qualities that come in handy when you're talking about spending $8-plus for 16 ounces of fruit juice.

"We don't want anyone to come in and have something they don't like," says co-owner Jordan Helman, when I asked if full menu sampling is a regular offering. "We want to make sure everyone finds something they are comfortable with and something they like." Rusch continues, "That's how we would want to be treated if we were in a juice bar."

That was the thought at the forefront of both their minds when they began working on their juice bar concept in July 2013. Back then, juice bars hadn't hit the Columbus scene yet, and Rusch, an avid juicer for years, found herself ordering cleanses from companies in California and New York. Good quality, natural cold-pressed juice should be more accessible, she says.

It is now, with cold-pressed juice spots opening up around the city throughout the past year. Knowing they weren't going to be first on the scene, the couple knew Zest would need to be different. So they focused on creating a space that feels raw and natural; and making a point to educate customers. The latter is clear in what they offer on every bottle that no other juice bar in town does-nutrition labels.

"A lot of people don't understand what's going into their juice," Rusch says. "You don't have to know anything about juice to come into our bar. Even if you don't like fruits and vegetables, we can find something for you."

To start, there are seven juices on the menu, including the refreshing fruit and root vegetable packed Kaleidoscope with pear, pineapple, watermelon, carrot, beet and lemon, as well as the protein-packed Cashew Milk with cashews, coconut oil, vanilla, Himalayan sea salt and dates.

The most popular thus far is Vitamin Cbus with grapefruit, orange and lemon. "It's really good and super refreshing," he says of his favorite in the lineup, and the best to drink if you're trying to fight off a cold. Rusch's favorite? The Beta Version with carrot, apple and ginger, that she likes to add a little cayenne extract to for extra heat. (As for me, I reached for the earthy, sweet and spicy Elementary-the beginner's green juice-with celery, cucumber, pear, apple, kale, lemon and ginger.)

In addition to juices, Zest also offers salads from Little Eater, granola, dehydrated kale chips, tonics, coconut water and smoothies. "For us, it's all about a healthier lifestyle," Helman says. "It's about furthering the options to help provide for a healthier lifestyle."

New Year's Cleanse

This month, Zest is offering 10 percent off cleanses, normally $51 a day for six juices. Cleanses are available in basic and advanced. "There's a flow to what you start with," Rusch says. "Because the juices are numbered, you don't have to think about food during the day. It allows you to think about more important things."

For a cleanse two days or longer, Zest asks for 48-hour notice. If you don't have time to stop into the Grandview store, Zest can deliver orders of $20 or more for no extra charge.