Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fresh Kitchen - Orlando, Tampa, St. Pete, and Sarasota

2018 Update: Fresh Kitchen now has 2 locations in Orlando - Waterford Lakes and Orlando's SoDo neighborhood, which is not too far from the theme parks.  

Yesterday, I met my best friend Tina for lunch in Tampa, Florida.  We considered going to Columbia Restaurant, which we both really enjoy, but then I found Fresh Kitchen on the Find Me Gluten Free app, and we decided to give it a try.

Fresh Kitchen, which has locations in Tampa, Sarasota, and St. Pete, is a 100% gluten free fast casual restaurant.

Once you decide whether you want a six bowl, four bowl, or kids bowl, you pick your bases.  Yesterday, we had four warm and four chilled bases to choose from.  The warm bases were brown rice, sweet potato mash, coconut ginger rice, and perfect spice rice.  The chilled bases were romaine & summer salad, kale slaw, sweet potato noodles, and veggie quinoa.  Next, you pick your veggies and proteins.  Parmesan broccoli, roasted mushrooms, sesame green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, and turmeric cauliflower were listed on the wall menu, and we had BBQ chicken, baked almond chicken, grilled citrus chicken, chia seed tuna poke, herb grilled steak, chia seed teriyaki tofu, and roasted chicken parm to choose from.

All bowls come with one sauce, and they are all cold-pressed, dairy free and sugar free.  I passed on the creamy white ginger, herb balsamic vinaigrette, coconut sriracha, and cucumber jalapeno, because they contained ingredients I am not fond of, like mustard, mayonnaise, or coconut, and I did not want something spicy after drinking the Flaming Lemon.  Extra sauce, bean & corn salsa, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, kale pesto tomatoes, citrus avocado, and chick pea & almond salad were available add-ons yesterday, costing between 25 cents and $2.00.

I arrived in Tampa about 30 minutes before Tina, so I ordered a Flaming Lemon juice, which contains lemon, water, ginger, cayenne, and maple.  Usually I really enjoy this combination, but the Flaming Lemon was a little too spicy, and not sweet enough for me.

I ordered a six bowl with brown rice, sweet potato mash, Parmesan broccoli, turmeric cauliflower, grilled citrus chicken, herb grilled steak, and holy kale sauce.  I loved everything about my bowl, but the highlight was definitely Fresh Kitchen's holy kale sauce, which was incredibly delicious.  The only thing I might change on future visits is getting an extra side of sauce.

Tina, who does not eat meat, enjoyed her four bowl with veggie quinoa, kale slaw, sesame green beans, Parmesan broccoli, feta cheese, and coconut sriracha sauce.

With my lunch, I ordered a No Moo with almonds, water, vanilla, maple, cinnamon, and sea salt.  It was good, but not as cold as I would have liked after we ate our lunch, so I returned to the counter and asked for ice, which shockingly, they did not have.

After lunch, Tina and I spent some time walking around Hyde Park Village, where we discovered Sprinkles Tampa.  All the Sprinkles stores I have been to do a great job protecting against cross contamination, and they make delicious gluten free red velvet cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies, which you can read about in my Disney Springs review here.  Fresh Kitchen did have a couple of gluten free desserts at the registers, but I did not get a good look at them or take pictures.

The menu on the wall at Fresh Kitchen did say that everything is gluten and dairy free unless stated.  I did double check to make sure that everything was gluten free, and only the Parmesan broccoli and roasted chicken parm contained dairy.  The BBQ chicken contains sugar, which is another ingredient they note, and the baked almond chicken, kale pesto tomatoes, and the holy kale sauce contain nuts.

I loved Fresh Kitchen so much, my husband and I might drive down to Tampa, St Pete, or Sarasota this weekend to have lunch.

June 26, 2016 Update

Yesterday, my husband and I had an early dinner at the Fresh Kitchen in St. Petersburg, Florida.  I ordered a six bowl with brown rice, sweet potato noodles, Parmesan broccoli, turmeric cauliflower, grilled citrus chicken, herb grilled steak, and two sides of holy kale sauce.  My husband ordered the same bowl, except he chose coconut ginger rice instead of brown rice.

We both really enjoyed our meals, and I was glad I had a chance to try the sweet potato noodles, which were not what I expected.  I thought they would be veggie noodles (aka zoodles), but they reminded me of an Asian rice noodle.  They were very good, but I preferred the rice with my veggies, sauce, and meat.

The St. Pete location had two dessert options yesterday - almond butter rice crispies and paleo cookies.  The brown rice crispies contain almond butter, brown rice, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt.  They are gluten, dairy and soy free.

The paleo cookies contain almond flour, honey, olive oil, cage free eggs, sea salt, vanilla, guar gum, and dairy free chocolate chips.  They are also gluten, dairy and soy free.

I did ask one of the servers at the counter if they ever serve food with gluten, and they told me no, which was confirmed by the wall art in the restaurant.

I decided to pass on the desserts at Fresh Kitchen, opting instead to get a Pop Craft Mexican chocolate pop from Mickey's Cafe and Organics in St. Pete.  Pop Craft pops inspired me to create my own Mexican chocolate popsicles a few years ago, when I could no longer buy them easily in Orlando.  I have to say, Pop Craft's are great, but I like my version better.  You can view the recipe for my Mexican chocolate popsicles here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Fresh Kitchen?


  1. Thanks for the review! My wife and I will be eating at the St. Petersburg location for lunch today! Flying into Tampa from Ohio.