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Juice bar squeezed out

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Sad news for Atom’s Juice Bar and the fans who’d truck it to visit Michigan’s first certified "green" restaurant. The Grosse Pointe health food shop is shutting down this month after years of battles with a neighboring Subway franchise. John Chetcuti, owner of Atom’s, says the decision to throw in the hemp-cloth towel was made after he received another in a long line of complaint letters from his landlord on behalf of Subway. The letters imply more lawsuits similar to the one filed by his landlord in 2000, over foods sold in Atom’s that Subway finds to be unfair competition. When the suit was filed, hype over the Subway-vs.-vegan-café battle put Chetcuti on the map. The story went international and he received thousands of dollars in donations from tree huggers and animal lovers everywhere. But legal bills, stress and strain became too much to bear, says Chetcuti. He’s working with his landlord to place a new tenant at 345 Fisher Road, and Chetcuti’s hoping open a juice bar in St. Clair Shores. A move to the Cass Corridor would be great, says Chetcuti, but he’d need a business partner, and there are potential investors interested in an east-side venture. "We’re looking for investors and for capital," says Chetcuti. "I’d love to be over by Wayne State, but we need capital and someone as interested as I am in doing this." Chetcuti is optimistic about moving.

"We need to be in a more visable location. Tom Monaghan (who founded Domino’s pizza) went bankrupt at his first couple of locations, and then he finally made it. He relocated and the rest is history." If you’re interested in hooking up with Chetcuti’s green dream, e-mail him at atomsjuice@comcast.net. If you want a culinary appraisal of the place, check under "Best healthy eating" in the Best of Detroit portion of this issue.

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