Freshii, a healthy fast-food chain, will open doors in Pittsburgh




Downtown workers, residents and visitors soon will have another healthy food option, a restaurant whose mantra includes phrases like “Let’s love kale” and “Let’s embrace quinoa.”

Freshii, a Toronto-based healthy fast-food chain, will open its first restaurant in the Pittsburgh market this fall in the Union Trust Building on Grant Street. It will occupy about 2,400 square feet.

The restaurant, founded by Matthew Corrin, a former intern on the David Letterman show and PR person for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, joins a growing array of food options in the historic early 20th century landmark built by industrialist Henry Clay Frick.

Freshii offers soups, salads, wraps, rice bowls, burritos, frozen yogurt, and juices and smoothies — all geared to the health conscious crowd. Some of its burritos are wrapped in steamed collard greens instead of tortillas, for instance. All soups are broth-based.

A breakfast menu includes scrambled eggs and kale, hard boiled eggs, breakfast burritos, and egg pockets.

Prices range from a $7.24 for a Spicy Thai Burrito to $8.49 for a Cobb salad.

“This is the next evolution of healthy, fast, casual food,” said Herky Pollock, the CBRE executive vice president who brokered the deal. He predicted that the new restaurant will appeal to a wide range of diners and “transcends both age and socio-economic barriers.”

Since getting its start in 2005, Freshii has grown to over 300 locations worldwide. While in New York, Mr. Corrin got the inspiration for the restaurant by visiting “mom and pop” delis that served fresh food.

Beyond the love for kale and embrace of quinoa, Freshii’s mantra features statements like “Let’s try new things;” “Let’s eat things that make us feel good;” “Let’s be good to the Earth,” and “Let’s let the Earth be good to us.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Corrin made news when he released an open letter urging rival Subway franchisees to convert some of their stores to Freshii venues.

Two years ago, he challenged McDonald’s to open a Freshii outlet in one of its American restaurants as a one-year test. McDonald’s didn’t bite.

Freshii will join Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the Union Standard restaurant, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant in the Union Trust Building, which is owned by The Davis Companies of Boston. Since buying the property for $14 million in 2014, the firm has spent $100 million rehabbing and renovating it.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.





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