Grandma Male is always game to try new restaurants with us, so we knew she’d be up to catch up over dinner at Fresh Healthy Cafe, a new soup and sandwich joint in Sherwood Park.
I first heard about this international chain on City and Dale, in a post written up by Tracey Hill (who, with her weekly contributions about the happenings in the ‘Park, is helping to change perceptions about the town, bedroom community or not). At first glance, it seemed to be very similar to Edmonton’s Health Fare, with its focus on providing nourishing and balanced meals for time-crunched individuals. We were curious to see what the restaurant was like in person.
The name aside (it reads like it should be Fresh and Healthy Cafe), the strip mall storefront was bright and clean. The local artwork on the walls were a nice touch (Giselle Denis’ floral portraits would brighten up any space). I also appreciated the open kitchen; it is always reassuring when diners can see their food being prepared.
The menu options were even fewer than Health Fare, limited to sandwiches, salads and soups. There were ten panini options (all priced at $7.49), all of which could be made into a wrap or turned into a salad. Mack and Grandma Male decided on the turkey bacon avocado, with turkey breast, turkey bacon, cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and low-fat ranch dressing. I ordered the very similar turkey club, with turkey breast, smoked ham, turkey bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and the same ranch dressing.
Turkey bacon avocado panini
There is no doubt that Fresh is generous with its ingredients – the sandwiches were just bursting. I liked that they had been lightly pressed, but given the filling amount and the runny consistency of the dressing, a thicker focaccia would have been ideal. But as a whole, we all enjoyed the sandwiches.
Turkey bacon club panini
Because Fresh had a smoothie menu longer than its food menu, we knew we’d have to try their drinks as well, with eighteen options (medium $4.79, large $5.99) to choose from, not including the freshly squeezed juice, juice blends, and optional fortifiers. We sampled the pomegranate punch (pomegranate-blueberry juice, non-fat frozen yogurt, blueberries, strawberries), Caribbean splash (passion-orange-guava juice, mango sorbet, mangos, strawberries) and strawberry banana supreme (strawberry juice, raspberry sorbet, strawberries, bananas). I thought the addition of frozen yogurt to a smoothie was inspired – it was a great thickener, with the side bonus of turning the drink into a dessert of sorts. Together with the paninis, we were content with the meal.
Although we had a pleasant experience at Fresh, we agreed that it was a bit out of the way for us to satisfy a sandwich craving. However, if we were in the area (or a resident of Sherwood Park looking for something new to try), we would return again.
Fresh Healthy Cafe
#82, 4005 Clover Bar Road, Sherwood Park