Covering the dining scene in and around the OC
I love a long, leisurely lunch, but seldom have the luxury of time, so I’m always on the hunt for a palate-pleasing fast casual restaurant.
My latest find is Fresh Griller, which opened earlier this month at MacArthur Plaza on Hutton Center Drive in Santa Ana.
The Fresh Griller mantra succinctly describes the concept: “Ingredients are natural and flavors bold. We create your meal fresh and fast, just the way you want it, right in front of you. We don’t believe in microwaves, freezers or can openers. We do believe in fresh, simple and natural.”
And of course, they also have a Grill of Rights: Natural, fresh, quality ingredients. Meals customized the way you like it. Food, packaging, decor sourced responsibly. Served by a passionate team. Grillicious meals guaranteed.
It is indeed a simple menu concept: choose a style (bowl, salad or wrap), then add your choice of marinated chicken breast, all-natural choice sirloin, or lightly sauteed veggies with herbs and spices. Take your pick from white or brown rice, Mediterranean beans, squash blend, pepper/onion medley, ginger pico de gallo, or Thai kale slaw. Finally, add one of six sauces.
The result: one healthy, fresh, “grillicious” meal, for only $6.
You can also purchase sides such as pita chips and hummus, fruit blend, or yogurt parfait.
Soda fans will want to come here every day when they discover that Fresh Griller sells pure cane fountain drinks and not the normal name brand sodas, which all contain high fructose corn syrup. You can actually taste the difference. They’ve also got four different gourmet brewed iced teas (three of them are caffeine-free).
I sampled several items including a chicken bowl with brown rice, sirloin wrap, and a veggie salad. True to the restaurant’s name, the food was fresh and bursting with flavor.
Despite the quality of the food, what made my visit to Fresh Griller memorable was the attitude of the staff. Everyone behind the counter was smiling, friendly, and genuinely seemed pleased to be there and eager to help. Call it the Disney attitude, if you will–it makes a difference and adds to the experience.
According to Fresh Griller Managing Director John Costello, he wanted to create a restaurant that he would want to eat at–something that was quick, multicultural, and used natural ingredients. He also brought in Chef Matt Janney of Chef Associates to help create the menu and oversee food production when the restaurant opened.
Because Fresh Griller is surrounded by office buildings, the restaurant is only open Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. That could change in the future once word gets around that locals have a fresh new place to go for quality food and exceptional service.
For more info, visit FreshGriller.com. The restaurant is also on twitter and facebook.