For ten-plus years, The Pump Energy Food was known on the New York City heath-food scene as a grab-and-go eatery for meatheads, serving Crystal Lite fountain drinks and protein-heavy meals that could fuel a lumberjack. But under the direction of Adam Eskin, a fit 30-year-old with a finance background, the restaurants are getting a healthier, more female-friendly makeover. Gone are the signed headshots of bodybuilders; say hello to cold-pressed juices.
Now menu items are nutrient rich, low in calories, salt, and sugar—or “sans crap,” as t-shirts of The Pump staffers read (a tad startling on the first visit). These include build-your-own Super-Charged Plates with brown rice, as well as salads and low-carb wraps (called Twists) using organic baked tofu, free-range chicken, and braised grass-fed beef and spicy bison meatballs. Average price: $8.
The five NYC locations, all redesigned but one on West 55th currently in progress, also serve seasonal veggies like Brussels sprouts (which fly out the window—read: two tons in two weeks) and sides galore.
“The Pump’s always been on the radar of healthy New Yorkers,” says Eskin, CEO, who was at Wexford Capital, the investment firm that acquired a large stake in The Pump in 2008. “But we’ve learned a lot more about healthy food since the late ‘90s. And it’s no longer a Hans and Franz gym-goer mindset. Women are leading the way,” says Eskin, a longtime jock who recently became a yogi, too.
Intended to appeal to this era’s Jane Fondas is The Pump’s range of cold-pressed juices, currently exclusive to the 17th Street location. Like at Organic Avenue and BluePrint Cleanse, Liquid Pump juices are made via a Norwalk Press, the Mercedes of juicing machinery, because it preserves the nutrients of produce the best without oxidizing it.
Mixologist Junior Merino consulted on some of the delicious blends, like Hydrate (cucumber, watermelon, apple, spinach) and Green Magic, a shake with orange juice, pineapple, basil, avocado, strawberries. “But they’re not a juice cleanse,” Eskin clarifies. The Pump might be catering to those more likely to wear Lululemon and do yoga than lift iron or down muscle-building shakes, “But we’re not jumping on a fad. We consider juices to be nutritious, and a regular part of a healthy life, “says Eskin. “We think that’s popular.” —Melisse Gelula
For information on the Pump Energy Food locations in New York City, visit www.thepumpenergyfood.com
Want to read more great stories like this? Subscribe to Well+Good and get our top posts delivered to your inbox twice a week.