FRESHII ~ Review Of A Fabulous Fast, But Whole Food Restaurant

When I was in Chicago, last week, I stumbled upon a “fast food” restaurant called FRESHII.

I popped my head in and took a quick gander determined to come back and grab one of their delicious looking salads after my workout at FFC next door. When I returned, it was packed. The lunch crowd. Chicago natives, piling in from work to grab a healthier option for their mid-day meal.

FRESHII - A Fast But Whole Food Restaurant Review - WELLFITandFED

I cannot express how much I love the fact that new restaurants like FRESHII are popping up all over the country. The demand has finally been heard, and restaurant entrepreneurs are jumping in. What do the people want? If FRESHII is any indicator, people want quick, healthy, locally sourced, organic real food options to grab on the go. FRESHII meets those needs in spades.

I filled out my little options page that was sitting at the door when I walked in.  Brilliant. You just check off whether you want a bowl or salad and then you get to filling out your different choices of add-ons. It was not clear how many of the options were organic.  But, there was plenty of advertising around the store that led me to believe it was top of mind to provide as many organic ingredients as they could.

FRESHII - A Fast But Whole Food Restaurant Review - WELLFITandFED

I created a salad bowl and intentionally checked every box I wanted not paying attention to price. I thought, what would my dream salad cost here? Well, it came to 14 dollars. Yikes! In FRESHII’s defense, I did do double chicken, bacon and avocado that were all premium add-ons but 14 dollars was pretty expensive. If you purchase right off the menu, the prices are much more reasonable. Salads and wraps between $7.00 and $9.00.

I do, however, always have the mantra “Pay now, or Pay later” on repeat when I consider the cost of anything that is an investment in my health. So if an all organic, locally sourced salad is $14.00 and cheap processed nonorganic salad is $5.00 you know which one I will be eating. 

FRESHII - A Fast But Whole Food Restaurant Review - WELLFITandFED

Even though there was a large, snakey line-up, I was processed efficiently and with a friendly smile. My salad was up in less than five minutes. I headed out the door, back to the condo where my husband stays in the West Loop of Chicago to hunker down to lunch and an afternoon of writing.

NOTE: I considered hopping on one of the DIVVY bikes. Have you seen these things? Awesome! A swipe of a credit card and your off on a pretty blue bike. There are stations everywhere, so you just re-park it when you at your destination. They run about $10 per half hour, so you want to use it as transportation not a day of site seeing. I was a little freaked I would drop my million dollar salad, so I chose to walk.


The salad looked beautiful and was in a sustainable bowl (unfortunate plastic lid). It was delicious! As I snarfed it down, I read a little about the company. The restaurant opened in 2005 in Toronto, Canada. Mathew Corrin set out to franchise the mom and pop deli concept he had grown to love in New York. 

  • One hundred stores already open
  • 400 in development
  • Present in ten countries and fifty cities.
  • FRESHII stores are popping up in everything from malls to fitness clubs.

NOTE: One thing I also noticed is there is a menu item called the “Warrior” whose proceeds go to the “Free The Children” project. Efforts of this charity help build kitchens and create vegetable gardens in schools in developing countries.

FRESHII - A Fast But Whole Food Restaurant Review - WELLFITandFED

I would recommend this restaurant. They had an observable gluten-free, vegan and paleo presence and their efforts toward serving fresh whole foods is commendable.  I love their motto. EAT.ENERGIZE. And that is just what my fancy salad did. I will definitely go back. 

25 Responses

  1. This looks great. I just wish there was a way to make healthier foods more affordable. It’s hard to convince people to do things like Panera when you get get a burger, fries, and drink at Wendy’s for $4. These healthier places you’re looking at $12-15 for an entree, side, and drink.

    1. Exactly Becky, but I think equally important is educating people what spending more now can do for them later. Less health problems equals less cost! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Wow, looks delicious! I am trying to eat organic where I can, and it can be so hard to find those kind of options when you’re out and about. $14 is a little on the expensive side, but it sounds like they have lots of good price points. And I love your saying – you can invest a little more now to invest a bit in your future 🙂 Thanks for the review! I hope one opens near me!

  3. This looks awesome. I hate that fast food options, even seemingly healthy options, are so bad for you!! I think there should be a stronger push for healthier options.

  4. Wow! This is awesome! I’m a personal trainer, health coach, and have a ton of food allergies. Eating healthy is pretty much my only option! I wish they had stuff like this in the suburbs of Phoenix! Hopefully they will soon. Sounded like a great experience.

    1. I live in Scottsdale part time. I will send you some of my go-to places for that area. There are actually some great ones. Look up Kale and Clover. Yum!

  5. I would live here. Balsalmic Vinegar FOR THE WIN. I’m so excited for the future of dining. It’s such a tragedy that cheap food is awful food. So glad people are making it work the healthy way even for $14!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. I know, right! I loved that the had some other options that were less expensive! I think people are going to also have to get used to paying a little more for really well sourced food.

  6. I agree the price is a little steep. I do like the look of the place itself! Great decor! I know there won’t be anything like this near me anytime soon, but interesting to see things that are popping up elsewhere! Thanks for sharing!

  7. THIS SOUNDS AMAZING!!! I will actually be in Chicago in a month for a conference and I will definitely be checking this place out! There is a “Salad Bar” down here in Texas that is called Salata that is also causing all sorts of rage right now. Yay for people realizing we need BETTER places to eat!

  8. This is SUCH an awesome idea! Where I live, we don’t have anything like this. If we did, I’d be there ALL the time! When I’m out and about with my toddler, we often need to grab some lunch, and I would love an option like this.

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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