Escondido trio open healthy food-and-lifestyle restaurant Fresh N Go

As a girl growing up in Escondido, Esvaidy Flores loved working with her mother, chopping up vegetables and prepping other ingredients for her mom’s catering business.

Years later, she’s working by her mother’s side once again, as well as her best friend, in a new casual healthy-foods restaurant they opened Jan. 14 in Escondido.

Fresh N Go cofounders Olga Saldivar, left, Alma Packer and Esvaidy Flores.

Fresh N Go cofounders Olga Saldivar, left, Alma Packer and Esvaidy Flores.

(Courtesy of Fresh N Go)

Flores, her mom, Alma Packer, and her longtime close friend Olga Saldivar are partners in Fresh N Go, which serves healthy pick-your-protein grains and rice bowls, organic pressed juices and house-prepared chia puddings with fruit. Besides the preservative-free foods, which are cooked only in pure avocado oil, all the Fresh N Go sauces are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Although the business offers everything to go, as the name implies, the partners unexpectedly lucked into leasing a much larger restaurant space last fall and they’re now offering live events to encourage people to come and stay. There are free mind-and-body health classes on Monday mornings, live music on Fridays from noon to 2 pm, and a book club that will kick off soon with monthly in-store meetings.

The spa-like dining room at newly opened Fresh N Go in Escondido.

The spa-like dining room at newly opened Fresh N Go in Escondido.

(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“Our goal is to make people feel welcome,” Flores said. “We want people to enjoy good food that doesn’t make you feel groggy or tired in a relaxed atmosphere with a nice ambiance.”

Flores spent six years working in the orthodontics industry, but she missed preparing food and feeding people like she did in her mid-teens. So she started talking about opening a restaurant with her mom and with Saldivar, who owns Phattie’s Vegan Mexican Restaurant in Escondido.

Flores said they spent nearly 10 months looking for a location in their shared hometown of Escondido last year with no luck. Then, Suzy Q’s Diner, at the corner of Second Avenue and Juniper Street downtown, closed last summer when its owner retired. Flores said the 2,000-square-foot space is in a great location and has room for the business to grow and become more of a sit-down, community gathering spot.

When it came to choosing the concept, the partners brainstormed what they wanted to serve. They all enjoy eating healthy, and Flores especially loves grain bowls, so they agreed to launch Fresh N Go, which was inspired by choose-your-protein restaurants like Chipotle and One n Half Poke.

A healthy bowl meal at Fresh N Go in Escondido.

A healthy bowl meal at Fresh N Go in Escondido.

(Courtesy of Fresh N Go)

Diners can build their own bowls or choose from one of five signature bowls. Protein options include chicken, tofu, sauteed mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, steak, lamb, shrimp or salmon. The bases include quinoa, white rice, brown rice, spring mix or black beans. Nearly 20 fresh vegetables are available as toppings, plus a choice of cheese and sauces, including chipotle, garlic cilantro, mango habanero and hummus.

Flores said the top-selling bowls are the signature Fresh N Go, which includes white rice, quinoa, spring mix, tomatoes, mashed avocado and two sauces, and the Mexican bowl, with white rice black beans, corn, avocado, Mexican cheese, jalapeño, carne asada beef, veggies and mango habanero sauce. Depending on the protein and other ingredients, most of the bowls range in price from $10.95 to $16.95.

The restaurant also sells flavored teas; strawberry, mango and blue spirulina chia chilled puddings; and two organic juice blends: Orange Turmeric and Goodness Greens, which is made with apples, cucumbers, lemon, celery and pineapple.

The restaurant held its soft opening on Dec. 13, and Flores said the business has been growing steadily with positive feedback from visitors. Most of the restaurant’s business is during the lunch hours, but Flores said they hope that by offering a comfortable dining room and events, it will become an all-day hangout.

When Escondido’s Cruisin’ Grand car club events kick off downtown on Friday afternoons in May, Flores said Fresh N Go will begin offering live music on Friday evenings. She’s also hoping more people will take advantage of the free, hourlong body health classes at 8 am Mondays. The content changes from week to week but will include guided meditation, sound healing, crystal bowls, yoga and breath work. Yoga mats are available or visitors can bring their own.

Fresh N Go

Hours: 10 am to 8 pm Mondays-Thursdays; 11am to 9pm Fridays; closed mondays

where: 258 E. Second Ave., Escondido

Phones: (442) 257-2305

On line: freshngoofficial.com

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