Get Refreshed at Fresh Bar
A few blocks from Audubon Park sits a bright, airy, corner grab n’ go eatery called Fresh Bar, and the place lives up to its snappy moniker. The Fresh Bar concept is predicated on the ubiquitous deli salad bar of New York City—places where you can get fast, easy meals comprised of ideally healthy ingredients. At Fresh Bar in New Orleans, however, you won’t be straining to lean past a sneeze guard to gather your broccoli florets or bacon bits—the salad creation is all done for you, and the results are fast and tasty.
All the salad components are in neat rows behind the counter, but in full view of patrons, making for an appetizing, colorful display. The fun part about ordering is the possibilities for customization—the basics are included in the
price, such as lettuce, three toppings, and dressings, but after that, the sky’s about the limit. There have to be almost fifty toppings available, which include loads of veggies (and some fruit), legumes, nuts, grains, meats, and cheeses. Over twenty house-made dressings are available too. And the fun doesn’t stop there.
You can have your dream salad in a bowl, or as a wrap. If you’re looking for a little more, there are two varieties of savory soup on offer every day. On the day of my visit, the choices were Creamy Potato Vegetable and Tomato Basil. I opted for the latter and got a small bowl of velvety, tomato goodness with a pleasant zing of heat.
The menu selection continues with a healthy range of “Signature Salads & Wraps,” that includes options like the Spring Greek (hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and feta) the Louisiana Fav (avocado, strawberries, dried cranberries pecans, and blue cheese), and the Delly Pear (pears, pecans, sunflowers seeds, dried cranberries, and feta), all of which come with your choice of lettuce and dressings, though dressing pairings are suggested. You are free to add whatever toppings you’d like to the signature offerings, however, they cost extra. I went with the Tex Mex blended with romaine and ranch dressing, and it was served with hearty amounts of black beans, corn, red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. The ingredients complemented each other well, and the salad was filling and delicious. The portion was generous and easily could have been shared by two people.
Fresh Bar exemplifies arch-casual in both application and layout, as all meals are served in to-go containers and bowls, and you’ll be using plastic utensils to scarf down your food. It’s part of the practice borrowed from the NYC salad bar approach.
Fresh Bar’s interior is quietly spare with touches of whimsy: sparkly green bows accent papery white light fixtures, and flowers nestle in a large vase in a corner. Clean lines and white and solid colors dominate the room, and accompanied by large picture windows and a high ceiling, a space designed for refreshment really is the result.
Fresh Bar is ideal for a snack or a full meal, with an emphasis on healthy, enjoyable, and accessible menu items. It’s ideal for anyone who likes to dine sensibly and come away feeling satisfied, and the flexibility factor of building your own salad or wrap holds great appeal. This is the perfect stop after a shopping stroll on Magazine Street, a run in Audubon Park, or simply because it’s good, fresh food served quickly and creatively.
by Karen Lozinski