Fresh Thymes Eatery, the Community Support Restaurant (CSR) concept from Chef/Owner, Christine Ruch opened quietly on Saturday, August 24th in North Boulder’s The Steelyards neighborhood.
I’ve tried Christine’s nourishing food before, and heard her own food journey through her allergies and food restrictions, so I was excited to try it in her own restaurant. The CSR concept is similar to a CSA – members are able to provide money to Fresh Thymes upfront which helps them launch the restaurant. Then as a member, you’re repaid with perks, discounts on food, monthly comped meals, private dinners, your name is on the founder’s wall (see below) and more.
As they put it:
It’s “localvesting” at its best, and now it’s your chance to be part of the freshest times (pun intended) Boulder has ever seen.
Upon entering the restaurant, it’s bright, vibrant and filled with fresh colors like green and white. The wall is lined with repurposed wood and bright orange potted plants sit on wall hangings. Aesthetically, it reminds me a bit of Modmarket’s interior but I love the space already. You enter and can see cases filled with raw, vegan and gluten-free desserts and side dishes from their “off the counter” menu.
You order at the counter, whether it’s the quick “off the counter” items or the many “from the kitchen” made-to-order items. When we ordered, they were missing a few items but they’re still working out a few kinks on some dishes that Christine wants to make perfect before they’re back on the menu (like the red lentil burger, it’s on pause until she perfects that consistency).
Everything in the restaurant is gluten-free, which is among the first restaurants to be 100% gluten-free. Most of the items are paleo, everything is GMO-free, organic, and there are even vegan items if meat isn’t your thing.
I started with the Cilantro Serrano Zucchini Hummus, that’s topped with pica de gallo, red chili chicken and comes with gluten-free flat bread and veggies ($11).
The Grass Fed Burger piled high with avocado, love sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickled onions ($12.50). I think this burger will become a crowd favorite.
All their bread is obviously gluten free, but I was delighted to learn that Kim & Jake’s Cakes are making their bread for them. From buns to baguettes, I would eat their gluten-free bread if they became a bread bakery too, but this is something they’re just doing in partnership with Fresh Thymes (for now).
Perhaps one of my favorite parts was the dessert. The desserts are a variety of raw and vegan, always gluten-free. I love trying these desserts because you don’t feel heavy and sick after but you get that sweet morsel craving and they show the chef’s ingenuity.
I tried their Magic Bar (Christine’s favorite – $3.50) and the Chocolate Chocolate Tart ($3.50). I imagine, I could have had five magic bars, it was that good.
Near the end of September they plan to serve wine, beer, hard cider and ling elixers for guests to enjoy. In terms of non-alcoholic, I enjoyed a honey ginger limemade, made in house. Bonus points – I love how they serve them in Ball Jars.
The other theme of their restaurant is that it’s also meant to be a “Grab & Go” option to accommodate the large amount of gyms and fitness centers in its near proximity on Valmont and 30th. You will see a cooler when you first enter, where packaged special meals can be picked up and consumed at home with family whether they’re ready to eat or can be heated up. I go to Crossfit Roots right around the corner, so it’s a great option for me to pick something up that I know will provide me the healthy sustenance I need.
One thing worth noting are their prices. With high quality ingredients and organic food, you can expect to see prices that are a bit higher. For instance, $11 for a small bowl of hummus or their Macy’s Chopped Salad is $12 is perhaps $2-3 more than you might see at analogous fast-casual, restaurants. The taste and quality are worth it, but just so there isn’t any sticker shock it’s something patrons should be aware of that you’re paying for higher quality ingredients and their bar is set high, so if they also continue to deliver on delicious food then they’re good. On the flip side, most places charge +$1 for gluten-free, and in this case, that’s all you’re getting at that high level which accommodates their customers, which is something to consider.
I also think Christine is creating a place for people that have food allergies that find eating out troublesome, you’re eating food from someone who walks the talks and really understands that conundrum. Their belief is that food should be delicious, no matter what and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice on taste, for your health.
Learn more at freshthymeseatery.com and perhaps you may even consider becoming a member, as well.