Fresh Beets

Things are not exactly what they seem to be at Fresh Beets! Natural Eatery.

On the surface level, the newly-opened business’ food looks like any other. It’s not uncommon for the restaurant to serve lasagna, BLTs, hamburgers or even pizza on its daily rotating menu.

But, upon further inspection, you’ll find that all that “meat” isn’t actually meat at all. Instead, it’s an organic, vegan and raw food take on popular dishes. The “bread” is really zucchini, the “bacon” is made from eggplant and the “mayonnaise” is made from cashews.

The idea is to take foods people love and are familiar with but turn it into a healthy, made-to-order, vegan and – yes – tasty dish.

“The concept is to minimally process it, and keep it close to nature as possible,” Owner Julie Thomison said. “We are in this world, and we want to connect to the foods we love so how can we do that without having to forgo them? Can we do it in another way but not compromise our health in the process? That’s what this is about.”

Raw food is food that is unprocessed and uncooked or served at low temperatures, typically no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thomison’s first foray into raw, vegan food was to help with her childrens’ constant ear infections. Nothing seemed to help until she began forgoing dairy products and meat.

Thomison began selling her raw, vegan food at Sunspot Natural Market for a few years, and it was a hit, though she stopped due to personal reasons.

But last year, Sunspot asked her to return, offering to build a kitchen in the space above the store.

Since opening this past August, Fresh Beets! has seen steady growth as it learns what customers like and want. Favorites include their BLT, quesadillas and their $1 energy nut cluster. Fresh Beets! also sells drinks, such as smoothies and shakes.

The takeout restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. But if one can’t pick up a meal in that time frame, they can place their order during business hours and pick it up downstairs at Sunspot until the store closes at 8 p.m.

While many of the restaurant’s customers are vegan, it’s not a prerequisite to enjoying the food.

“We’ve run into people saying ‘Oh, but I’m not vegan,’ but that’s ok,” Thomison said. “Come on in and enjoy a vegan meal. It’s just a meal. You might find something you really enjoy.”

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