Healthy fast food? Sounds like an oxymoron. There was a day it would have been - but no longer. Not at Freshii's anyway. Freshii, a franchise out of Canada, is one of the quickest growing fast food chains in the country. I wanted to find out why it is so popular, so my family and I recently visited Freshii at The Harrison.
Walking in, you get a different feeling at Freshii. It's the minimalist approach taken to the nth degree. The store design is open and spacious with stainless steel and light wood throughout. Clean, simple artwork adorns the walls and the tables and counter are butcher block. Oh, and a bottle of Sriracha (or as it's more commonly known, rooster sauce) sits on every table. With such simple furnishings, you get the sense Freshii wants your main event to be the food.
On screens mounted above ordering stations, you'll find their standard options - salads and wraps, bowls, soups, burritos, juices and smoothies. Or you can grab an order sheet (similar to the card at sushi restaurants) to customize your meal.
The order sheet offered so many choices we weren't sure where to start. But, the Freshii employees were helpful and patiently explained the options giving suggestions along the way
I got the Buddha's Satay bowl. It was bursting with veggies -broccoli, carrots, cabbage, and had a rice noodle base swirling in a spicy peanut sauce. I added tofu and was not disappointed. The veggies had just the right amount of crunch and the peanut sauce had an undercurrent of heat that pulled everything together.
My guys ordered custom wraps. My husband's wrap had more of a Mexican flair with chicken, black beans, corn, and cilantro -but he added a peanut sauce, which gave a pleasing smoothness. My seven-year-old, ever the traditionalist, kept it simple with a chicken, black bean, romaine, and aged cheddar grilled wrap. Both of them enjoyed their choices and the freshness of the ingredients was evident.
The food was spot on, but another reason to visit is the view of Parkview Field. We sat on bar stools at the back and had a perfect vista of the ballfield.
Since I was completely full from my bowl, I was not going to order a smoothie. However, my fellas each ordered one, so I couldn't resist. I got the Powerhouse. It's got a frozen yogurt base with coconut milk, mint, and pineapple. I love mint and this smoothie was good until the last slurp.
Parking can be a little hairy, especially if you try to park in front of The Harrison, but it needn't be. The Freshii employees told me customers may park in the library lot, in The Harrison lot (just after The Harrison building along Jefferson) and of course, on Ewing Street.
Besides their healthy fast food niche, another unique feature is their Meal Box. Each box contains three meals and two snacks. They are geared toward people trying to lose weight, build muscle, or do a detox. All you have to do is pick up your prepared Meal Box the night before, and the next day you'll enjoy healthy eating - and no clean up.
For a long time, I have thought fast food didn't have to be so unhealthy. For years, it consisted of burgers, burgers with cheese, or maybe burgers ground up in a tortilla. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I wish somebody would have thought up fresh fast food earlier. But, thankfully it's here now. And Freshii is a great place to experience it.