FreshJunkie’s new Southdowns location opened Monday, Jan. 29. For owner Pat Fellows, expanding the fresh-eating franchise from his Main Street Market location to this particular part of town has been a long time coming.
“I’ve been downtown for a long, long time, and FreshJunkie has been there for 10 years in February,” Fellows says. “But I live in this area, and my office for the [Louisiana Marathon] is down Stuart Avenue, so I feel like this is our area. And when this opportunity came up at what I felt was a fair price, I said, ‘Let’s do it.'”
With Southdowns Shopping Center neighbors like Southfin Southern Poké, Spectrum Fitness and TreadBR, it’s also a unique opportunity to set up shop in an established healthy living hub, he says.
Converting the former Smoothie King space into this new FreshJunkie location has been a lengthy process. Fellows and his team worked over seven months to remodel the restaurant and create an original look. With accents like a raw steel countertop, concrete flooring, a pegboard wall, an original FreshJunkie mural and modern seating that fits about 20 patrons, the spot is entirely unrecognizable for anyone who frequented the area before.
“I like more modern looks and harder edges, and I’m a big fan of stainless steel, glass and concrete,” Fellows says.”The mindset was kind of keeping everything clean and simple with some modern touches to it, so that when somebody walks in, they think ‘Where is this a franchise from?'”
Naturally, the design isn’t the only thing that Fellows and his crew have been toying with for this new FreshJunkie location. Though the restaurant currently serves its normal menu of fresh, made-to-order salads and wraps, plans are already underway to expand the daily offerings by mid-February with fast, healthy breakfast options for people out running morning errands.
“I’ve never invested in [offering FreshJunkie breakfast options] downtown, because Saturday is sort of the only day for it, and there’s already seven other people serving breakfast down there,” Fellows says. “But with people working out in the mornings at places like Tread and dropping off their kids at St. Aloysius, I think there’s an opportunity for a solid breakfast push [here].”
Though Fellows isn’t completely ruling out the inclusion of homemade pastries and breads, this breakfast menu will be more focused on clean-eating items like avocado toast, açaí bowls, oatmeal, quinoa bowls and smoothies. Fellows is also working closely with Matt Saurage of Community Coffee to roll out simple coffee options like a signature house roast, some rotating roasts and espresso.
Fellows says he is most excited to take his time growing the franchise in this spot with the opportunity to try out new menu items and partner with his new neighbors.
“The opportunities are crazy here,” he says. “We just want to make sure we’re keeping everything tight by kind of going slow and deliberate, because it makes a difference.”
FreshJunkie is at 4257 Perkins Road in the Southdowns Shopping Center and is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. When the restaurant begins serving breakfast in February, this location will be open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. FreshJunkie’s Main Street Market location is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.