Words cannot describe how gleeful I was when I heard an ad on Mountain FM informing me that Squamish has ITS VERY OWN FRESHII!
AND IT’S WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE FROM MY HOUSE!
Freshii is my favourite fast food choice on the planet. I first discovered it many moons ago when I was working downtown Vancouver. A Freshii opened up just a few blocks from my office, so I would go sometimes on my lunch break. It took a few visits, but eventually I figured out my dream order and I haven’t changed my go-to dish ever since (more on that later).
Here is why I instantly loved Freshii:
- So many fresh vegetable options! While my office lunches often left me feeling like curling up under my desk and falling into a food coma, my Freshii meals never sat heavy.
- I love that you can customize your order to a tee. There are zillions of possible combinations – if you haven’t found one you like yet, you probably just need to visit a few more times to tweak your order to personal perfection.
- The price point fit nicely into my budget, which was around $10 per lunch. (PS – I can’t believe I used to spend $200 on lunches per month! But I did.) Note: if you customize your order, you can modify toppings to make your meal cost as little or as much as your budget allows. Flexibility – that’s why I love Freshii.
- The whole vibe is very yoga studio/cool friend’s apartment. They have grass (fake, I think) growing out of walls and a very fresh (er… freshii… hehehe) green and white colour scheme that makes me feel calm and like I’m making responsible nutritional decisions.
- Their soft serve ice cream is the bomb!
I loved Freshii so much that my colleague and I decided to look into starting a Freshii franchise. No joke – we contacted them, thinking that Yaletown would be a primo Freshii location. We never heard back from them, unfortunately – or else maybe I would be a Freshii franchise owner.
Moving away from Vancouver sadly meant moving away from Freshii. I still made a point to visit when I could – the Freshii in the Park Royal food court has satisfied my craving more than once. When Cedric and I traveled across the country in 2015, I always made a point of checking to see if the town or city we were in had a Freshii. And if it did, you better believe I re-routed our GPS to trick Cedric into taking me there.
Yes, I had to trick Cedric to take me to Freshiis across the nation because he’s (GASP) not a huge fan. Here’s the weird thing: neither is my sister. Aside from the coworker who considered opening a Yaletown Freshii with me, I’ve never met anyone who is quite as passionate about Freshii as I am. I honestly cannot figure out why. Freshii haters (or even likers-but-not-lovers), what is it that Freshii lacks for you?
Okay, enough about my personal Freshii anecdotes – let’s talk about strategically planning a Freshii visit.
Freshii: The Strategy
When you visit Freshii, you are immediately faced with a key decision: order off the menu or create your own custom dish.
Do NOT be afraid of customizing your dish. Some people are intimidated by the process, but let me assure you: it is easy peasy. First, look for the white clipboards with checklists clipped on. There will be mini pencils nearby – grab one of those, too.
(Note – the Squamish Freshii checklist is slightly different than the one pictured above)
Step one: write your name in the top right corner.
Step two: pick your meal type. Your options are salad, bowl, wrap, or soup. Within each of these categories, you must refine your selection as follows:
- Salad: spinach OR romaine OR Freshii mix
- Bowl: warm brown rice OR rice noodles
- Wrap: brown rice OR romaine OR spinach OR Freshii mix; and then you pick grilled or non-grilled
- Soup: brown rice OR rice noodles; and for broth type, 100% vegetable OR classic chicken OR spicy lemongrass
This is where people become overwhelmed by options. Relax – you can always come back another time to try something else. I personally always go with the rice noodle bowl.
Step three: pick your premium toppings.
Warning: premium toppings are pricey. If you pick these, you may not meet the $10 lunch budget threshold. I personally skip the cheeses, nuts, and fancy fruits and veggies. However, I do believe the proteins are worth it (grilled chicken is my protein of choice).
Step four: pick your regular toppings. At most of the Freshiis I have visited, you get six free regular toppings included in your order. Six toppings + chicken is plenty, which is why I never bother with the premium toppings. The regular toppings are plain old delicious veggies and other accoutrements. My go tos: black beans, roasted red pepper, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli.
Step five: pick your dressing.
I have NO IDEA why I initially picked the spicy lemongrass dressing, but I’m so glad I did because now, I order nothing else. I have never found another dressing – store bought or homemade – that I love as much as I love this dressing. It makes my nose run and I always gulp down an entire bottle of water to regulate the spiciness – but it is soooo good.
Because Freshii cares about you, you get to decide how much dressing you want: a regular serving, half a regular serving, or 1.5x a regular serving. Prefer it on the side? There’s a box for that, too. I usually stick with the regular serving – it’s the perfect amount for me.
Step six: bring your completed checklist to the cashier and they’ll input everything for you. Wait a bit (usually 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how busy it is), then they’ll call your name and your perfect little order will be ready for devouring.
I haven’t given much information about ordering directly from the Freshii menu. These are wraps, salads, bowls, and soups made with their tried, tested, and true recipes. The truth is that I never, ever pick a menu item. I always make my own. Why wouldn’t you?!?!?!?
In addition to the main meals, you can also get juices, breakfasts, and as I mentioned earlier, soft serve yogurt with pick-your-own-toppings (blueberry and strawberry for me).
The Squamish Freshii
I hit up the Squamish Freshii for the first time a few days ago. Any time a new business opens, you naturally expect a few growing pains – but nope, not on my visit. The Freshii at Garibaldi Village was smooth sailing. My experience and meal was exactly like all the other Freshiis I’ve enjoyed across the country – which is exactly the point of a fast food place with multiple locations.
Lest you be concerned that this review is tainted by things like monetary compensation or free food, don’t be – Freshii doesn’t know I’m writing this love story about them. Freshii Squamish, I love you. Get to know my face, because you and I are going to become very, very good friends.