The Grab and Go goodness of something fresh and healthy is catching on as well in St. John’s as it has been catching on across the country. Apparently, Freshii is now a nearly billion dollar brand, opening an average of two stores a week in 2015, in 13 countries worldwide.

Not bad for a company started by a guy who says “the first day we opened, was the first day I worked in the restaurant business.”

Freshii reached their first 100 stores quicker than McDonald’s did. Speaking of which, Freshii’s founder recently sent a very public open letter to McDonald’s, boldly critiquing the company for dominating fast food options for people worldwide, then asking McDonald’s to partner with them.

news-lg-bowls“Across the country, on our highways and campuses, in our malls and inner cities, our quick-serve options are dominated by McD’s, built on burgers, fries, and sugar-laden soft drinks. Your company professes to be concerned about providing healthy alternatives, but your track record demonstrates you have not figured out how to make healthy food that people want to buy …

“… even at our rapid rate of growth, it will take decades for Freshii to have a material impact approaching that of McDonald’s. Americans should not have to wait so long to access healthier alternatives. That is why I am issuing the following challenge to your company: Partner with us. Save the world, and help yourselves …

“Imagine a world where every standalone McDonald’s, every highway rest stop and campus location, offers fresh salad bowls, quinoa, whole grain wraps and pressed juices – even kids’ meals – alongside your burgers and Cokes. One outlet can feed the whole family again.”

While the word chain rightfully makes many of us hesitate, Matthew Corrin’s motivation for Freshii is not to run a fleet of restaurants that compete with, say, The Sprout or Happy Humus Hut in St. John’s, but a globally recognized healthy eating chain people treat like an alternative to drive-thru takeouts like McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

“I wanted to create a restaurant brand that helped people all over the world live healthier and longer lives by making healthy food affordable and convenient.” And for that they’ve won awards.

It is also surprisingly cheap. Nothing on the regular menu is more than $9, and the menu is broken down into 5 categories: Breakfast, Burritos, Salads & Wraps, Bowls, and Soups.

They also have juices and smoothies. Sample bowls include the “Buddha’s Satay” (rice noodles, crispy wontons, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, peanut sauce) and the “Pangoa” (brown rice, avocado, black beans, aged cheddar, corn, grape tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedge, hot sauce.)

Soups include a spicy lemongrass soup, Asian vegetable, or Southwestern. Burrito options include options like Tex Mex, Baja (quinoa, avocado, red onions, cilantro, green onions, cabbage, salsa, pico de gallo), and Spicy Thai (quinoa, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, edamame, spicy lemongrass sauce).

And the salads include items like Cobb (field greens and romaine, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, corn, honey dijon dressing), ninja (spinach and romaine, cabbage, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, crispy wontons, asian sesame dressing), and Market (Field greens & spinach, quinoa, beet slaw, apple slaw, carrots, cranberries, avocado, honey dijon dressing).

Freshii is located on Topsail Rd., in Waterford Valley Plaza