In the Spotlight: Fresh & Co.

This restaurant gets my honest-to-goodness best rating, and that’s not just because I’m a vegetarian. I’m very used to going out and ordering entrée salads and fru-fru veggie dishes as meager “sorry you don’t eat meat” alternatives to more appealing items on the menu. And that’s to be expected, really; it’s hard to get a salad that makes you go, “Whoa, you gotta try this.”

The restaurant has very clean look.

But here’s a place that really goes out of its way to make itself an exception to that rule. Last Wednesday I had lunch at Fresh & Co. on Broadway and Waverly, right by NYU. It’s a salad and sandwich place that caters to meat-lovers, vegans, health-nuts and indifferent people who just want to grab some quick good eats. Here’s how it works:

The counter is divided into stations that you line up for depending on what you feel like trying. There’s a Sandwich Station(they also do panini melts; the girl across from me had a grilled

Salad bar. Order a chef designed salad or create your own original one

steak panini and I’m telling you it smelled amazing), a Salad Station (these are not ho-hum salads; you can load ’em up with whatever toppings you want— artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, jumbo shrimp, or even jalapeños), and a Quinoa Bowl Station (this is good, trust me on this one). You order your meal and watch them prepare it right in front of you, which is actually a lot of fun. They hand you your food, then you pay at the register and dig in. Quick and easy, even when there’s a crowd. If you’re looking for something for grab-and-go, there are ready-made soups, salads and snacks, as well as organic coffee. Check out their menu.

I got the Smoked Tofu Edamame Quinoa Bowl (or as some call it, the “number six”). It’s not that I thought it was gonna be bad or anything, but it’s like I said— I’m used to being bored by my food. No joke, I was so surprised by how good this stuff was, by any standard: quinoa, kale, brussel sprouts and other fresh ingredients coated in sweet chili sauce and served up hot. Yum. It knocked my socks off and I really can’t wait to go back. For less than the cost of an entrée salad at one of those sit-down chain restaurants, this is a lunch that kept me full for the rest of the day and made me want to lick the bowl clean. I am officially a fan.

My lunch, about to be gobbled.

Are you a health-nut? Come for the all-natural ingredients and the huge variety of fresh options. Everything you order is prepared right in front of you so that you know just what you’re eating. There’s even an online nutrition calculator. This food may be fast, but it’s definitely healthy stuff.

Are you an eco-enthusiast? Come for the sustainable food sources and environmental conscientiousness. The poultry comes from small companies that treat their bird humanely. Read about them on their “philosophy of food” page. Every week, Fresh & Co. has what it calls “Farm Fresh Friday” when all the food is obtained from local farmers’ markets in NYC. Sometimes this even means getting produce from the rooftop garden of PS 41, a public school only blocks away. This is a green restaurant; even the salad bowls are made from recycled plastic.

Do you honestly not really give a damn what’s in your food or where it comes from as long as it tastes good? Then come for the taste! Come because you want to know what “Thai Turkey Bolognese” is and why it’s so good with soy ginger sauce. Or because Super Bowl season has buffalo chicken on your mind and a panini melt sounds like the perfect lunchtime medium for it. Or because these pictures have been making your mouth water just a little bit onto your computer’s keyboard. If you don’t think you’re really into “health food places,” then just think of think of this as an “awesome lunch place” and give it a shot. I promise you won’t be sorry.


It turns out that health food doesn’t have to be bland. In fact, it can be tangy, sweet and delicious. The proof is in the pudding . . . and in the quinoa, and in the sandwiches, and in the salads . . .

Give them a try! College students get 10% off with this Campus Clipper coupon:



Laura DeFrancisci, Manhattan College. Check out my Blog!

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