There’s a new fast casual dining spot tucked into a side street within The Green at Lakewood Ranch, the plaza located at the Northeast corner of SR 70 and Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Just six weeks into its grand opening, So Fresh has made quite an impact already to the area. Michael Murphy, one of the general managers, told me that “So Fresh is exactly what’s needed.” Murphy has been with the company since they opened their first location in Tampa in 2013. What started as a part time job as a dishwasher became a career for Murphy, who says he believes in what the company is doing in providing fresh, made to order food to every customer. He, as well as the other general manager, Ryan Williams, oversee a staff of 15 employees.
The Lakewood Ranch space is the fifth restaurant for the chain and the first one outside of the Tampa area. A second area restaurant in downtown Sarasota is slated to open in February. Murphy says the company is looking ahead at expanding across Florida in the future.
When ordering you can choose from bowls like the Superfood, the Power bowl or the Rise and Shine bowl. The Signature Salad, which contains spinach, romaine, tomato, onion, cucumber, raisins, avocado and goat cheese, is one of their most popular salads. All are made to order and always with the freshest ingredients. Murphy says that, right now, the teriyaki bowl seems to be a favorite for his customers. It’s served with cauliflower rice, which appeals to those guests who are carb conscious. The zucchini noodles are also a favorite item, again, for those seeking the healthiest option.
For the customer who wants to truly customize their meal there’s a “build your own” option. Your meal could be a bowl, a wrap, a salad or a broth bowl. Protein choices include tofu as well as chicken, steak, shrimp, salmon, ahi tuna, and zoodles (zucchini noodles). Certainly, the most innovative and comprehensive choices found in a fast casual restaurant.
This location has also added smoothies to the menu, which will now be added to all stores. Right now guests can choose from either a banana date or a kale apple smoothie, which Murphy says is “healthy top to bottom”.
So Fresh also believes in giving back to the community as they are involved with Feeding Tampa Bay, where a percentage of every sale goes to feed those in need. To date, they have donated $8,000 and provided 88,000 meals to those in need.
Residents in this area are embracing a healthier lifestyle and judging from the crowd on my visit, So Fresh is doing its part. Visit their website by clicking here Hours are 7 days a week, 11 am to 9 pm.
Photos courtesy of Heidi Schild.