The latest food and drink trends in Clark County are keeping residents abuzz, especially with restaurants that are putting a focus on fresh ingredients and healthy eating.
The food scene in Vancouver has changed significantly in recent years and with the creativity that many restaurant owners have today, eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, the food scene in Vancouver is beginning to be exactly the opposite – unique, flavorful and most of all, fresh.
Doug Gillespie, franchise partner with Freshii, shares that it’s exciting to see new food concepts enter the Vancouver area. After opening one Freshii franchise in 2014, Gillespie and his team of almost 60 people now run six locations in Vancouver and Portland.
“There is a pretty big void of healthy things to eat when you’re too busy to cook at home, so I particularly appreciate concepts that are striving to offer real food to help the people in our community lead a healthy lifestyle,” Gillespie said. “Regularly eating overly processed foods takes its toll on our bodies and we’re unable to function at a high level. As people become more aware of the impact food has on our overall well-being, the need for food concepts with nutritious menu options will continue to grow.”
Freshii has three locations in the Vancouver area.
Steve Valenta, owner and operator of The Mighty Bowl, agrees that Vancouver has wildly embraced the fresh food movement. He says that it’s fun to hear that foodies want to stay in Vancouver more often, rather than having to go to Portland to experience interesting new foods. He also shares that he believes people are shifting their thinking when it comes to eating well.
“I think people are realizing that our output of life is largely dictated by what we put into our lives,” Valenta said. “Whether that be physical, emotional, family, etc., you get out of life what you put into it. And food, being a basic foundation of health, can have a direct impact on healthy living. People are now paying close attention to the food they eat. We’re learning that ‘eating healthy’ isn’t exclusive to our bodies – but also about our environment. That awareness is playing an important role in the foods that restaurants and grocery stores are offering.”
The Mighty Bowl first opened as a mobile food truck about five years ago, but is now open as a brick and mortar restaurant location at 108 W. 8th St., in downtown Vancouver.
Kevin Erickson, local owner of Nékter Juice Bar, says that the recent opening of his modern juice bar helps fill a void in the Vancouver market for refreshing juice and smoothies that contain no hidden fillers, processed ingredients or artificial flavors. Nekter Juice Bar recently opened at 305 SE Chkalov Dr., Suite 126, in Vancouver.
“Looking to live a healthier lifestyle isn’t the exception any longer,” Erickson said. “It really is becoming more mainstream in all types of communities across the country. We’re seeing more young people and seniors embracing wellness because they are becoming more educated about the ingredients they put in their bodies. Nékter isn’t one of those elitist brands that judges an individual’s lifestyle. We want to inspire and educate, and provide the tools – in the form of healthy and delicious food options – that will help them on their journey to wellness.”