It’s been a long time since Terry and I had lunch at our local salad bar restaurant. They’re the ones that were long known and highly regarded as Fresh Choice, went through some financial difficulties, closed most of their locations and reopened some of them as California Fresh. The initial reviews were not encouraging.
Terry and I ate there some months back after seeing slightly more encouraging comments. The salad bar was passable, but the soups were actually somewhat better than before. We were not impressed enough to add them to our regular rotation, but I remained on their email distribution. A couple of weeks ago I received an email that 1) said they were lowering their price for lunch, 2) included an additional $1.50 off coupon, and 3) told us that they were returning to the Fresh Choice name.
Given all that we decided to give them another shot. We ventured over there on President’s Day last week. We were pleased. The salad bar was fully stocked and fresh. There was a variety of soup. Terry had the albondigas soup and I had the clam chowder. I thought the clam chowder was excellent. Terry loved the albondigas, and I enjoyed the taste she gave me. I thought their pizza was better than ever. Terry liked the mac and cheese. Neither of us had room for the double chocolate brownies.
So they seem to be back and doing well. I’m not sure what to call them. The sign on the building still says Fresh Choice. That had never changed. The sign over the cash register, the receipt, and those little Be Right Back/All Done cards on the tables all said California Fresh. The posters in the window announcing the new lunch price said Fresh Choice.
Whatever their name, we’re happy to see them offering quality food once again. And we were glad to see them as busy as they were.
I’ve written about the loss of both our Fresh Choice salad bar and Juicy Burger. As of last week both are back, sort of.
Juicy Burger is back as Café 152 Burger Company. I suspect this must be owned by the fellow who owned the short-lived but very enjoyable Café 152. He’s an experienced businessman and also owns a fast-food franchise in town. Given that, I think he has a good chance of making it work. I certainly enjoyed my hamburger and garlic fries on my initial visit.
Fresh Choice is another matter. The chain pretty much shut down last year. Since then some locations have re-opened as California Fresh. My initial understanding was that the all-you-can-eat model was gone and salads would be sold by weight with à la carte items available for sale as well. Based on the reviews I’ve read, that’s not the case. It appears that the business model is unchanged, but that the selections are fewer, slightly different, and not as good. Check out Yelp and this Sacramento Blogger. I think we’ll stay away for a while.
On another restaurant front, our local Chinese fast food place has restored its made-to-order specials. Happy to see that.