Members of the Sag Harbor Gym on Bay Street can now look forward to having smoothies, juices, protein shakes, and salads before or after their workouts, following a decision by the village zoning board of appeals on Tuesday that a juice and smoothie bar is consistent with the spot’s primary use as a fitness center.
Timothy Platt, the village’s building inspector, had asked the board to determine whether village code would allow a juice bar at the gym.
Carlos Ramirez, a chef and entrepreneur, plans to rent space from the Hampton Gym Corporation to open Moose Smoothies. On Tuesday, his attorney, Carl Irace, argued that providing nutritional beverages is part of fitness center’s main use. Village code, he said, describes fitness centers as “facilities for exercise, aerobics, and nutrition.”
“Nutrition,” he said, “is an essential part of fitness,” and it is customary these days for gyms, even smaller ones, to also offer healthy foods to its members. Today, he said, fitness training always involves nutrition. “It supports endurance . . . recovery from exercise.” As an example, he said that many trainers recommend a shake 30 minutes after a workout. People need to replenish electrolytes after exercise, he said. In the past, a soda machine may have sufficed, but he said fitness trainers now work with variations based on age, weight-loss goals, and conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. “That’s why gyms offer experienced and professional nutritional counseling.”
He said there is already a juice bar in the Hampton Gym Corporation’s Southampton gym.
In Sag Harbor, the juice bar, at just 170 square feet, will be 70 feet from the gym’s main entrance in a space now used for storage.
Answering questions from the board, Mr. Irace said that the juice bar would require no additional parking and that the food and beverages served would be offered as a convenience to members only, as are the gym’s child care services.
As copies of the plans were handed to the board, Michael Bromberg, a board member, warned Mr. Irace and Mr. Ramirez that only three board members were in attendance. “It is easier to get three out of five, than three out of three,” Mr. Bromberg said. Gayle Pickering, the board’s chairwoman, offered them the chance to request that the matter be adjourned, and gave other applicants in the audience the same option. Mr. Irace and Mr. Ramirez declined, and in the end, got the three votes they needed.
Although Mr. Bromberg said that giving nutritional advice is different from handing someone a drink, he said “it sounds customary, other establishments have it.” Ms. Pickering agreed, saying, “I think it works for the gym.”
Mr. Ramirez, who has lived in Sag Harbor for three years, is excited to get started, he said yesterday. He thinks it will be a month or two before he has the smoothie bar built. He will use recycled materials, he said, adding that the business will have a low carbon footprint. He said he has already purchased compostable cups, and will source local and organic ingredients whenever possible.