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Elisabeth Röhm’s New Role: Restauranteur

The actress talks about her vegetarian cafe in Santa Monica

Actress Elisabeth Röhm has been in the public eye for years, thanks to numerous roles in movies and on TV shows (for four years, she starred as assistant district attorney Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order). She currently appears on Lifetime’s The Client List. These days, however, the German-born, New York-raised actress is taking on an entirely new role: small business owner.

In July, Röhm, along with her fiancé, Ron Anthony, and business partner Sean Smith, opened Rejuice, a restaurant in Santa Monica that specializes in vegan cuisine and fresh juices. As a co-owner, Röhm is hands-on: She says she can make everything on the menu, including the kale salad with quinoa and pumpkin seeds or any of the cold-pressed juices. DuJour checked in with Röhm to find out what inspired her to open a restaurant, why she became a vegetarian, and what’s next for her outside the eatery.

What made you decide to open Rejuice? 

Ron, who’s my fiancé and my daughter’s dad, and I have lived this lifestyle for a long time. We’re huge juicers, and we live a primarily vegetarian and vegan diet. We’ve really felt such a huge benefit from it: We’re stronger, healthier and more vibrant. Then a dear friend of ours, Sean Smith, began juicing on his own and making great raw smoothies. We thought that there weren’t many places in Santa Monica and Venice, where we live, that cater to our diet. We also wanted to make it affordable to help get people excited about the idea of eating this way. Raw or vegan restaurants can often be pricey, so people end up staying away from them. 

How involved are you with the day-to-day running of the business?

The shop’s only been open six weeks, but I do work there and I serve there. I believe in it. I know how to make everything, and I like to be there when I can because I want customers to feel a connection. I want people to feel that it’s not just a lunch they’re buying, it’s a lifestyle. At the same time, I’m still busy with acting—I did two movies this summer—and I’m also writing a book that’s coming out in May.

How has business been? 

It’s been great. We share a parking lot with Trader Joe’s, so there’s a ton of traffic. It’s also just word of mouth. People are coming from Malibu, Brentwood, and Century City. If you do something good, it draws people.

Who’s your clientele? 

I would say it’s an everyman’s shop. There’s the younger generation, who’s very sophisticated when it comes to their diets, especially in L.A. For them, it’s very trendy to be healthy. We also have people who come in because they’re ill or they want to lose weight. And then we see moms on the run, older people who want to stay youthful and families who are trying to encourage their kids to eat fruits and vegetables.

You’re a longtime vegetarian. What made you cut out meat?

I’ve been vegetarian on and off for many years. I was 90 percent vegetarian most of my life, so I just crossed over the threshold after my daughter, Easton, was born. A lot of kids don’t want to eat animals—Easton is a vegetarian, and eating meat seemed nonsensical to her.  

Is it hard to source everything locally?

No. L.A. has such a vibrant and colorful farmers market scene. Every day, I feel like I see a street shut down for a local, organic farmers market.

What’s next for you career-wise? 

I have a book coming out on Mother’s Day called The Object of My Conception. It’s a memoir about my journey through the IVF process and having my daughter. I’ve got Lifetime‘s The Client List, which starts shooting a second season in October. I have a movie called In the Dark that will be airing on A&E this winter. And I’ve got lots of juice to make!