Matthew Corrin was fashion designer Oscar de la Renta's marketing manager, which meant a lot of long hours at work and a lot of hurried lunches at local delis. After his umpteenth greasy sandwich, Corrin began wondering why there weren't more healthy and convenient lunch alternatives. This rumination and a resignation letter to de la Renta begot Freshii, a fast, casual eatery that serves healthy meals and has graced the pages of various publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Inc.'s 30 Under 30 list. Environmental awareness also plays a big part in the business model—even the food packaging is made from eco-friendly vegetable starches.
Every Freshii kitchen is stocked with base ingredients of brown rice, rice noodles, romaine lettuce, field greens, and spinach; toppings such as carrots, broccoli, grilled tofu, and candied walnuts; and an array of dressings and sauces. Using these ingredients, the chefs create bowls, wraps, salads, soups, and burritos for lunch and dinner. During morning hours, when the sun is still busy curling its rays, they scramble eggs, serve house-made oatmeal, and top fat-free frozen yogurt with a choice of fruit. Customers can bring their own bowls and the staff will wash them and fill them with fresh ingredients hailing from environmentally responsible farms that fairly compensate their workers.