Despite Wynwood's stance as Miami's hottest neighborhood (and hotbed of new development), the area is still lacking in several key components needed to make it more habitable: quick, easy food being one of them.
But Freshii is aiming to fix all that. The Canadian chain opened its first South Florida location at 2300 NW Second Ave. a couple weeks ago. Since then, salads, wraps and juices have been selling like gangbusters.
Corrin founded Freshii after working in the fashion industry in New York, and frequenting the local delis.
"They had fresh food, salads, wraps, lousy branding, lousy service, and what I wanted to do was basically create a brand around the ability to customize and eat clean food," he explains. And Freshii was born.
The fresh and healthy fast casual spot is everywhere in Canada, and they have multiple locations in Chicago, too. Currently, they're in over 10 countries, over 50 cities and have 400+ stores in development.
They're planning to blanket South Florida pretty quickly, with stores coming to Dadeland Mall, International Mall, Fort Lauderdale, Boca, and Jupiter. The operation is a franchise, so there's a local couple behind the Wynwood outpost.
Founder and CEO Matthew Corrin helped insure the new store matched its surroundings, IE, didn't look like a chain. Some of the tables have a chalk surface, so doodlers will feel right at home.
"So anecdotally, we opened our first 100 restaurants faster than Starbucks, faster than McDonald's, faster than Subway," Corrin says.
As far as being the first chain in Wynwood (though Panther is technically a chain these days), Corrin quips: "No one knows we're a chain. It's like our dirty little secret."
"This does not look like any other store," he says of the location. It was designed specifically to fit into the neighborhood
All menu items are vegetarian as the standard, with proteins available as an add-on. Many of the selections are vegan, including the Ninja salad (spinach and romaine, cabbage, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, crispy wontons and asian sesame dressing), the Baja burrito (quinoa, avocado, red onions, cilantro, green onions, cabbage, salsa and pico de gallo) and their current special, a hearty chili.
The menu is also offered as a build-your-own concept, and you can pick and choose from dozens of ingredients to make your own combo. Items include things like brown rice noodles, quinoa, chickpeas, cilantro, edamame, spinach, beet slaw, artichoke hearts and lots of others. The Freshii Fast Ticket, as its dubbed, allows you to pick from a salad, bowl, wrap or soup, add protein, premium toppings, regular toppings and dressings and sauces.
The location is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they have everything from breakfast burritos and smoothies to soups and bowls. Basically, it's a veggie-lover's dream, and perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions (since there's so much choice involved).
In a world of McDonald's and Starbucks on every corner, Freshii is the future of chain restaurants. And it looks happily at home in Wynwood.
Freshii is located at 2300 NW Second Ave., Miami. Hours are Monday To Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.