A passion for good healthy food while on the road led to the end of retirement for Steve Mandy and the start of a new career for Steve’s wife, Suzanne, when the two of them, along with Steve’s sister and brother-in-law, opened a Freshii franchise in downtown Victoria.
In her job, Suzanne was on the road a lot. But being a vegetarian and gluten-free it was hard to find good healthy food, she says.
“So I started booking myself into hotels that were next to Freshii restaurants,” she says. “Because I knew I could go and actually get a good meal.”
At the same time, her sister in-law Stephanie Laborie and her husband Rob, often travelled to their cottage near Parry Sound, Ont. and they too found themselves planning their drive around Freshii stops.
So the four of them got together and thought how cool it would be to bring a Freshii to Vancouver Island.
“This really falls within our beliefs of eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle,” Suzanne says.
That led to the opening of the group’s first location at 1000 Douglas St. in downtown Victoria in April 2018.
The counter-service restaurants focus on healthy meals made to order, with many vegetarian and gluten-free options. But chicken and steak are also on the menu of burritos, wraps, soups and salads.
Both locations are very popular.
“I think it’s because of the combination of comfort food and nutrition,” Suzanne says. “The food has things people love, like cheese or rice or peanut sauce in some dishes. But they are nutritional too and thoughtfully put together.
“And they look pretty and just taste really great,” she adds.
Wondering what to try? The top 3 dishes at Freshii are:
- Buddha’s satay with spicy peanut sauce
- Oaxaca bowl, a Mexican-inspired dish with spicy yogurt dressing
- Pangoa bowl, fiery barbecue with avocado
Freshii was started in Toronto in 2005 with a mission to help people live better by making healthy food convenient and affordable. Nutritional information is available for all menu items.
The outlets on Douglas Street and in Belmont Market are the first, and only, Freshii restaurants on Vancouver Island.