Healthy eaters, rejoice. Corie Cameron is coming to the rescue with quick, nutritious meals in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood.
She plans to open her Crisp Greens cafe in early May at 4312 Sixth Ave. That’s the space formerly occupied by Knuckles Sandwiches and The Lasagna Store.
Cameron and husband Sean Guay intend their Crisp Greens to appeal to the lunch-and-dinner crowd searching for filling, healthy food emphasizing vegetables and whole grains.
The cafe is an outgrowth of her meal-preparation companion business, Crisp Meals.
Cameron, a professionally trained cook who also has a background in nutrition, saw such quick demand for her ready-to-eat meal delivery service that a cafe expansion seemed the next logical step.
“I started working with clients, and I got so busy, I wondered, ‘How can I scale this so more than one family can get this at one time?’” she said.
She’ll continue to operate Crisp Meals through the Sixth Avenue cafe space — where clients can pick up their ready-made meals.
She’ll also serve nutritious build-your-own salads and bowls for drop-in diners.
The space will have seating for a small crowd and will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to start (those hours could change).
Like a Chipotle or a Mod Pizza, cafe diners will counter order from a long list of ingredients. The idea is to customize a bowl with veggies and grains with a single fixed price of $9.99.
The Crisp Greens menu starts with a choice of greens, whole grains or a mixed greens-and-grains base.
Diners pick from a list of dips and spreads ranging from walnut-kale pesto to hummus and whipped jalapeno feta. Next, diners select a protein that can be anything from chicken to steak to tofu and roasted veggies. Finish the bowl with a choice of 15 fresh veggie toppers, eggs, sunflower seeds, cheeses and dressing.
Too many choices? No problem. A set menu comes with pre-selected ingredients.
“There are 10 on the menu, so if you don’t want to make a decision, the board will be there for you,” Cameron said.
She predicts diners will like her Southwest Ranch salad with grilled steak, cheddar cheese, jicama, jalapenos, cilantro, green onion and “chipotle ranch that we make with a buttermilk sour cream base with pureed chipotle in adobo sauce.”
The Mexicali vegan bowl is popular with her current clients. That’s a wild rice blend, kale, seasonal vegetables (right now she’s serving that with grilled sweet potatoes and cauliflower), diced tomatoes, jalapenos and a vegan chimichurri made with parsley, jalapeno, green onions, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil.
The menu is flexible for all kinds of diets. Ingredients will be wheat and gluten free, vegan-friendly and definitely safe for a low-carb diet. One of the bowl options comes with cauliflower tabbouleh in lieu of grains or greens.
The menu also is aimed squarely at busy people who want to feed themselves more nutritious fast food. She hopes to establish grab-and-go parking spots next to the building for those who order ahead.
Busy people are the reason she started her food business. Specifically — busy parents.
“From our family to yours, we understand how hard it is to eat healthy. That’s why we feel we’re good at feeding families,” she said. “We know what kids like to eat and how to feed them healthily. I feel like this is how the whole thing started. I wanted everybody to feed their kids healthy.”
Even Cameron, who has dual nutrition and culinary degrees, said she was shocked when she got her daughter to eat cauliflower rice. The struggle for parents to encourage ambitious eating in their kids is real, and she gets that as a parent of four kids.
“I want to do more kid cooking classes and getting them to understand that eating healthy food is really amazing. I got a letter from a client, and the daughter had drawn a picture of a giant broccoli crown and it said, ‘I love broccoli now.’ …. That’s absolutely my favorite thing. When adults like my food, it’s one thing, but when adults tell me their kids love it, that’s the best compliment ever.”
Where: 4312 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Opening: Early May
Crisp Meals: Cameron and Guay operate a ready-to-eat meals service with meal plans that range from a few meals a week to packages that can feed a large family. For more information, visit crispmeals.co.