Freshii: Fast food that's healthy and tastes good

In a hurry and and want to grab a quick wrap or salad that is good for you? Head to Freshii, open since last month in Wynwood. 

It’s the first Freshii franchise in South Florida. The fast-casual chain has headquarters in Toronto, where founder Matthew Corrin opened the first one eight years ago; it has since expanded to Europe, Latin America and now the United States, with more South Florida locations on the way. 

Franchise owners Jorge Ramirez and his wife, Carmen Calderon, are from Colombia and had been living in the Dominican Republic (Ramirez was CEO of Verizon in that country). They had grown accustomed to a healthy lifestyle and, along with daughter Laura Schreibmaier, who has a masters in hospitality management, they decided to convert a warehouse next to Panther Coffee into a café space with a gallery in back to showcase local art. Freshii has made a seamless integration into the neighborhood. 

Sit on the outdoor patio once you have ordered up front, or sit at counters inside with stools or at tables with chalkboard tops and tins of chalk for drawing or doodling. In the morning, get organic oatmeal with nuts and fruit or a Greek yogurt parfait. 

Almost everything is vegetarian except the Cobb with bacon, but one can add a protein (falafel, tofu, chicken, steak and shrimp) for extra to any brown-rice bowl, burrito, soup or salad, which can also be served as a wrap rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla or collard leaf. 

You can also customize your order with a selection of toppings and dressings (cucumber dill, balsamic vinegar, honey Dijon) or sauces (sriracha, teriyaki, peanut) plus any number of proteins. The superbiotic salad/wrap includes spinach, chickpeas, red onions, slivers of artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper sauce, while the Baja burrito is packed with quinoa, avocado, cilantro, scallions, cabbage and pico de gallo. 

For the next few months, spicy bean chili is available with steak and cheddar; chicken, broccoli and mushrooms; or vegan. Get a vitamin shot with any juice, from Red Power (with beets) to Mighty Detox (with pineapple, apple, celery and cucumber). 

Or just pop in for a banana-nut crunch smoothie or low-fat froyo in flavors like green apple and mango. All fast and fresh.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.

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