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New juice bar in Homewood to offer healthy, welcoming place to ‘cool out’

  Shirline Davis describes the purpose of the brightly 
  colored flower mural she created on a wall of 
  her new juice bar, Be Free.
(Photos by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)

When patrons step through the door of Be Free Juice Bar in downtown Homewood, the first thing they will see is a wall of flowers.

They will have their first chance on Saturday, Aug. 19, when the juice bar celebrates its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 18102 Martin Ave., formerly the home of Thai Rickshaw restaurant.

  Shirline Davis sets out some homemade chalk 
  on a children’s activity table in Be Free Juice Bar. 


The freehand mural on the far wall was created by artist and entrepreneur Shirline Davis of Flossmoor, who describes herself as a bit of a flower child. She and her five daughters ― Tonina, Naem, Nasya, Nyjet and Paris Davis ― are partners in the venture.

“Flowers make you feel happy, free,” Davis said. “I’ve been called a hippie. The shop is an extension of that.”

Be Free’s fare will be vegan, featuring a selection of fruit and vegetable juices. The menu also includes customizable “earth shakes” with a base of organic almond, soy, flax milk or mango-peach nectar. To the base, customers can add a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and berries.

The shop will also offer vegan sandwiches and acai bowls.

  Shirline Davis and her five daughters will open 
  Be Free Juice Bar at 18102 Martin Ave. in 
  Homewood on Saturday, Aug. 19.


Davis has started a number of art and education businesses in her life, but her qualifications to run a health food establishment go back to childhood. Her parents, Ruth and Stance Richie, raised 11 children on a 100 percent organic diet at their home in rural Illinois, she said.

In the 1970s, the couple ran a health food store in Chicago Heights.

“My dad was known as The Vitamin Man,” she said. 

Davis’s hippie aesthetic pervades the shop with books, vinyl records, a place for patrons to sign their names, and, at the moment, an undadorned partial wall that is destined to be a canvas for local artists.

She wants the shop to be a community place, home-like and relaxing. She hopes patrons will say, “I’m going over to Be Free to clear my head and cool out.”

She plans to have some unusual services that are intended to anticipate patron needs, like keeping a few extra diapers on hand, in case parents with babies have that need.

“This is my family” creating the shop, she said. “We want to be a family with the community.”

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