Coordinator Alumnus Opens Healthy Pop Up in NYC
Talk about a HealthCorps experience inspiring a healthy foodie trailblazer!! Sarah Frank, one of our recent coordinators, has a passion for health and food and her new professional foray is co-owner of a pop up in one of the hippest locations in New York City, Union Square station. This busy subway location offers the perfect opportunity for commuters to grab a “dinner kit” at the new Fresh Routes that Sarah is opening with her boyfriend, Josh Wessler.
Wessler actually launched the business first as an online destination in 2012. The heart of the concept is healthy dinner kits that offer all the ingredients needed to prepare a dinner, for a family of four. The pre-packaged dinners include a variety of ethnic choices, and there are vegetarian options as well. Price point is around $34 per kit, depending on the kind of protein (meat, poultry, fish, beans or tofu) included. You can also buy add-ons like appetizers and dessert. Fresh Routes dinner kits include a step-by-step guideline for preparing the dishes. Wessler and Frank try to purchase ingredients from local organic sources when possible, with Satur Farms of Long island one of the primary sources. Breads and pastas come from Hot Bread Kitchen in East Harlem, a well-known destination for New York foodies.
When asked about the vision and goal of Fresh Routes, Sarah replied: “From the beginning, our main goal was to make cooking dinner at home more convenient. Meeting customers in person is a big priority for us, (which is why Fresh Routes is now entering a physical store location). We think that home delivery works for some people, but in New York, many people want the flexibility to make decisions about food spontaneously. With the subway pop up, customers can walk by our store, see what we have, and decide they want it. No need to subscribe to a delivery plan or order in advance. We’re always exploring additional distribution models to make dinner even more convenient, while using fresh, locally sourced (when possible) wholesome ingredients.”
What about the specific nature of the ingredients? Sarah said, “Meat and vegetarian meals alike feature vegetables prominently. We emphasize freshness and taste in our recipes, and use techniques that bring out those qualities in the ingredients and maintain their nutritional value.”
“One of our main goals designing recipes is that they be delicious, packed with flavors and spices. We build each kit starting with whole, fresh ingredients. We design our meals to be veggie-centered. Some include meat and others are vegetarian or vegan. When customers buy our products, they see exactly what the meal is made from. There’s nothing hidden. As customers get to know our brand and our meals, they know they can rely on us for delicious, fast and fun meals.”
What about the impact of her involvement in HealthCorps? “HealthCorps really launched my interest in healthy eating and cooking! My favorite part of being a HealthCorps Coordinator was the after-school cooking program that I ran at my school. I loved cooking with my students and sharing food together. By building community in the kitchen, I convinced my students to try all kinds of food they had never had before, from international cuisines to unusual local veggies. Josh and I love cooking at home, but it can be hard to get a home-cooked meal on the table after work, so that’s where Fresh Routes comes in.
The Fresh Routes concept is a win-win for the New York subway location, since a shop like this enhances the underground travel experience, while offering a real solution to harried commuters who want a quick option for a healthy and fresh dinner. While heading home after work or the gym, you can grab the dinner kit and have a healthy meal in 30 minutes.
For more information, check out: Fresh Routes