Mention the phrase “health food,’’ or even “healthy eating,’’ and many people immediately think of funny names for funny foods that often taste like cardboard and old socks.
Over the past eight years, Susan Klein has changed much of those perceptions with the success of her Fit Foodz Café in Boca Raton. Klein is now taking that success to Ripe, a new all-natural, healthy dining in Delray Beach. Ripe serves a 100 percent gluten free menu that can be described as “healthy living’’ comfort food.
Frustrated with the “healthy” options being offered on restaurant menus, Klein joined a gym and entered a weight loss contest. She also began asking her chefs to prepare healthier versions of her favorite comfort foods, substituting nutrient-rich ingredients without sacrificing flavor. Klein lost 50 pounds and won the contest.
Klein launched Fit Foodz Café in September 2011. Her healthy and flavorful menu and pre-packaged meal service regularly sold out at local gyms, spurring her to open a brick and mortar location to better serve her growing community.
In a casual, fast-food setting, Ripe serves dishes such as small pizza Pizzettes (my favorite is The Texan), beef, turkey and veggies burgers (on cauliflower buns) and beef and ahi tuna tartare tacos.
“It’s a simple menu with lots of options depending on your dietary lifestyle,’’ Klein said. “Some people love it and some people don’t. But by and large the feedback has been great.’’
There are several options within individual dishes, which makes it easier for guests to decide. For example, the Wholesome Bowls come with a choice of quinoa, cauliflower rice and brown rice. Each bowl – Power Lifter, Fried Ripe and Green Envy – comes with choices of grilled chicken, seared ahi tuna and shrimp. Do the math and the three bowls become nine options.
“It’s a little experimental for some people, but at the same time, we’re keeping all the healthy aspects,’’ Klein said. “We have a lot of fit young families and young fitness individuals in the area, as well as people in the their 70s who want to eat healthy, but don’t understand it all. We take the time to educate them and help them understand what they are eating.’’
Feature Photo: The Texan