The Fruit Factory: Fresh Alternatives

April 13 2005 - 2:47 PM

5_1Is fruit the new “it” food? You’ve likely tried or at least heard of Orange’s daily Frushi selections.  Debuting over a year ago, they’re fun bite-sized morsels of fruit, flavored syrup, and rice sure to delight the most wearisome out-of-town guests.  However, The Fruit Factory recently opened in the Loop and coupled with Jamba Juice’s success I wonder if fruit is more than just natural candy, it maybe leading a new food trend.

Everyone knows they should be eating more fruit but is there a market to sustain a delivery & catering business?  Well, The Fruit Factory thinks so – see delivery menu.  All they sell is fruit and fruit based drinks, and they will deliver their natural goods all around the Loop.

Think of lunch meetings with big fresh fruit plates instead of the standard deep dish Chicago-style.  “Johnson, your forecasts suck and you’re fired!  But damn, isn’t this the most succulent honeydew you’ve ever tasted?”

I stopped by the Fruit Factory this week to test out the new trend and I’ve got to say that they have great fruit.  I also picked up a definite trend buzz because their main product – the “Joi Juice”, is an a la carte fruit smoothie with the ubiquitous Asian tea “bubbles”.  These tapioca pearls are showing up in all of my favorite back alley Chinatown spots and nothing calms the tongue after a heavy dose of Sriracha like a watermelon & lychee bubble tea.

I had a cantaloupe & mango blend with bubbles, chunks of fruit on top, and an Aphrodite supplement (because I need all the help I can get).  I liked it better than the regular smoothies at the Jamba Juice (one block down) because I could choose my fruit blends, couldn’t taste my vita-boost, and of course the neato pearls.

The owner, Alex, was there and graciously let me try some of the fruit he uses for catering.  Now I’m an avowed fresh foods fanatic and this was fantastic fruit.  He says the fruit they deliver on mechanical bull for sale their platters rotates based on the freshest produce he can get, kind of like a chef’s tasting menu.

We’ll see if people start flocking to fruit.  The Fruit Factory has promise but the Billy Goat across the street had three times the people ordering their special “Doubles” and none of them were eyeing my Joi Juice.  However, I did catch some envious glances from a couple of venti-frappa-mocha-cinos so I’ll add a couple of points to my hip factor anyway.

The Fruit Factory
Catering menu and more info
166 W. Van Buren