Philosophy is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when one enters a juice bar. Yet for Megan and Casey Robbins, the owners and operators of downtown Galesburg’s GloBar, a sound philosophy is as essential as fresh produce.
GloBar, which opened on Aug. 1 of this year, is situated between New China Restaurant and Jerry’s Barber Shop on 337 E. Main St. The café offers a selection of juices, smoothies, teas and sandwiches, all of which are made to order.
Megan Robbins employs a specific strategy to ensure quality control. “Texture makes a great smoothie. That’s what we strive for: a creamy smooth texture that’s mostly food and not filler,” she explained. “No syrups, no added sugar. There’s nothing fake in it.”
Sophomore Claire Schmidt believes the juice bar offers unique contributions to the culinary community. “GloBar is an exciting new addition to Galesburg’s food scene. Their smoothies and milkshakes are delicious—especially “The Cure,” which is a fruit and veggie smoothie,” she said.
But gastronomical greatness is not the only thing on the owners minds. Megan Robbins, who studied theology at Judson University and pursued graduate work in historical philosophy at University of Edinburgh, strives to lend her theoretical studies practical application in the running of their business.
Megan Robbins drew much of her inspiration from 20th century Jewish philosophers Emmanuel Levinas and Martin Buber, who “wrote really beautiful philosophies about not giving up on humanity…and how community is an essential part to the human person. That’s something I always thought was important, and that’s something I’d like to bring to the table here,” she said.
During the inception of GloBar, the Robbins sought to create a space that would foster community engagement, outreach and exchange. Megan Robbins identifies as a teacher by trade, and hopes that the juice bar can act as an accessible salon for the community – a platform for those who wish to teach and learn. The café even provides a small conference room for anyone who wishes to use GloBar as the locus for a meeting or event.
Robbins believes that Knox students will benefit from having a site from which they can reach out to the Galesburg community. “I know tons of Knox students who would love to have a venue to help inspire people and promote change. I would love to get more involved, and just be an incubator for Knox students who have ideas, but need a place to meet,” she said.
The intimacy of the juice bar itself suggests a community-oriented space. GloBar’s interior is both rustic and cozy, sporting tiny copper lanterns on every table and stacks of dog-eared novels clustered behind floral teacups. Expansive windows showcase the bustle of Main Street, a complement to the flurry of activity as Megan and Casey Robbins hasten to fill orders inside.
Sophomore Vela Lu expressed an admiration for GloBar’s décor: “I think all the decorations are sweet, and it’s really nice to have the menu on the wall. [GloBar] feels like an antique juice bar.”
Aside from providing a neutral gathering space for members of the community, the Robbins plan to engage with the community in a myriad of ways. They hope to offer education and support to Galesburg residents by fostering the relationships they hold with both their bodies and food. This will include hosting fitness challenges within the community and providing nutritional information to those seeking to improve their lifestyles.
“I think it’s important for us to be aware that food does matter, especially for college students,” Megan Robbins said. “I remember, when I was in college, sometimes that’s your only solace. I want to make sure that college students have that support, and they’re still being mindful.”
GloBar also plans to provide coffee and tea tastings to its patrons. The Robbins hope to remove the element of snobbery that often pervades such events, and render it an enjoyable experience for both novices and connoisseurs of coffee.
Underwriting the Robbins’ many plans for GloBar is a singular vision: to provide a space in which respect and gratitude are paramount. “It is about the food, but it isn’t about the food for me. It’s more about the community and my fundamental belief that we’re happier together than apart. Always wanting people to feel… that they can be happy, and they can flourish, and come to a place where somebody’s in their corner,” Megan Robbins said.