With the opening of Vim & Victor at the St. James Performance Club in downtown Bethesda late January, club members and others can find plenty of options for healthy snacks ranging from smoothies to fruit bowls.
Vim & Victor is a health food concept created by chef Spike Mendelsohn, who is also known for his other business ventures, PLNT Burger and Eat the Change, the Bethesda company that he started with activist entrepreneur Seth Goldman.
Mendelsohn said he was approached by Craig Dixon and Kendrick Ashton, the owners and founders of the St. James, to create a health food concept for their flagship location in Springfield, Virginia, when it opened in 2018. He agreed and Vim & Victor was born. The restaurant’s name is a play on the saying “vim and vigor,” with “vigor” changed to “Victor” as an homage to Dixon’s father, Mendelsohn said.
The St. James Bethesda location opened Jan. 28 at 6828 Wisconsin Ave., along with a Vim & Victor Wellness Bar in the front. While the menu of the flagship location of Vim & Victor provides more options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Bethesda location primarily serves smoothies, toast and fruit bowls.
The fruit bowls, which come in 12-ounce or 24-ounce bowls, all have a frozen fruit base. Some stars on the menu include the “blue ribbon bowl”, which gets its color from blue spirulina, derived from blue-green algae. The bowl is topped with strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, mango, granola, bee pollen and honey. Another offering is the “dragon fruit slayer bowl,” which includes a scoop of a frozen pitaya base topped with pineapple, mango, strawberry, kiwi, coconut chips, granola and honey.
“We wanted to really kind of lean into what we call the wellness bar … emphasizing that you’re here, you worked hard, you deserve a treat at the end, and you deserve some type of wellness treat that’s going to put a smile on your face,” Mendelsohn said. “We want to lead into the ice craze where you get all sorts of great fruits on top and nuts and berries. “Each build-your-own bowl option consists of the scoop of a base and a choice of fruit and other toppings, syrup and spreads.
Mendelsohn said his favorite bowl is the “coconutella” bowl, consisting of a scoop of the frozen coconut base, Nutella, banana, coconut chips, granola and maple syrup. He compares the taste to an Almond Joy candy bar.
The menu also includes avocado toast, which is multigrain toast topped with crushed avocado, chili flakes, sea salt and olive oil. Sweet toast options include the almond-berry toast, which is multigrain toast topped with almond butter, strawberries, blueberries, toasted almond and sea salt.
As for the 16-ounce smoothies, the “gut check” is a popular blend, containing banana, mango, turmeric, ginger, vanilla-almond milk and honey. “The blueprint” contains coconut, pineapple, spirulina, banana and almond milk.
Customers can add plant-based protein, whey protein, creatine and collagen for an added vitamin boost to their smoothie orders.
The fast-casual eatery is located at the entrance of the performance club, creating easy access for club members and others passing by.
“A lot of the stuff you’re doing as an individual in the gym and if you’re with your friend, it’s nice to maybe just have a chat post workout and refuel together,” Mendelsohn said. “So, this is kind of that occasion. You don’t want to [chat] in the locker room [or] sitting and standing at the gym. It’s nice to kind of just sit down and just chat a little bit over some refreshments.”
Vim & Victor is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.