Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Restaurant News

Fitlife Foods concept a healthy twist on fast food

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — A former Outback Steakhouse executive has brought his new concept of freshly made, healthy takeout meals to St. Petersburg. Fitlife Foods recently opened at 3047 Fourth St. N next to Yogurtology.

"Its healthy but it's the food that people want to eat," said David Osterweil who has opened two Fitlife stores in Tampa and one in Clearwater in the past year. "We're making food like chicken tacos and spinach and artichoke dip but in a better way."

It's for health-conscious folks who are running a marathon or just busy folks who are running behind, said Osterweil, 35, an avid runner himself.

Think of Fitlife Foods as a store lined with refrigerators full of freshly made Lean Cuisines, but tastier. There are about 60 different breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack items on the menu. Most are available in small, medium and large individual serving containers.

Small sizes average around 400 calories each, (some are below 200) while large portions weigh in around 800 calories.

But the food made daily in Tampa costs more than commercial frozen fare in grocery stores. Small single-serving entrees average around $6, medium sized cost about $8 and large are in the $10 range.

Substitutions are a key to the healthier options. Greek yogurt, caramelized carrots and onions or pureed cauliflower are used instead of heavy cream, butter or mayonnaise in some recipes. With 39 original sauces, flavor isn't sacrificed, Osterweil stressed. "And our food is loaded with protein."

Menu items that back up his claim include barbecued beef with macaroni and cheese, lemon pepper tilapia and Sicilian chicken meatballs and pasta.

Stacey Robinson, a family physician from St. Petersburg, was recently buying a citrus salmon salad at the new store.

"I've been looking for something like this for my patients,'' she said. Of course she likes that the menu features healthy options but what's more important to her is that the meals are made with real foods that everyone can pronounce.

"I hadn't heard of it before," said David Watkins, a district manager for Fresh Market who came across the street from the grocery store to check out the potential competition. "It's a good concept."

Though the 1,200-square-foot store features two microwave ovens built into the wall and two small cafe tables for customers who want to eat on the spot, most opt for takeout.

About a third of customers buy enough meals for seven, 14 or 21 days and meet with wellness coaches to work on weight loss. Another third buy five or six meals a week while another third get just one or two at a time.

Osterweil wouldn't say what each store cost to open, but said he raised money from private investors to start the company and open the first stores. He plans to open a franchise in Orlando soon and is finalizing franchise agreements. A franchise fee would be around $30,000.

Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at (727) 893-8785 or [email protected]

 
Comments
Dining news: More poke coming, Frogman Feast raises money for SEALs and Gold Star families

Dining news: More poke coming, Frogman Feast raises money for SEALs and Gold Star families

FUNDRAISER: FROGMAN FEASTLast year, the first celebrity chef charity event called Frogman Feast raised more than $12,000 for Navy SEALs and their Gold Star families. Ken Bowen is spearheading the effort again this year from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at 3 Da...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17
No Thanksgiving plan? Head to one of these Tampa Bay restaurants for traditional feasts and more

No Thanksgiving plan? Head to one of these Tampa Bay restaurants for traditional feasts and more

You realize Thanksgiving is just a week away, right? No pressure. If you don’t have a holiday game plan for Nov. 23, let’s do this thing. There are still a bunch of options, many traditional Thanksgiving repasts and some a little less conventional. C...
Published: 11/16/17
Oak & Stone with self-serve beer coming to St. Pete, South Tampa’s Byblos to reopen

Oak & Stone with self-serve beer coming to St. Pete, South Tampa’s Byblos to reopen

COMING SOON: OAK & STONEBeen to Oak & Stone in Sarasota? In early 2018 we’ll get one in St. Petersburg at 199 Central Ave., next to the newly constructed Hyatt Place. The concept is wood-fired pizzas mated with a self-serve beer wall highlighting cr...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/20/17
A St. Petersburg artist created the labels for this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau wine release

A St. Petersburg artist created the labels for this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau wine release

Every year, there are bad things we can count on: taxes and death. And good things: Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November and on the Thursday before, the Beaujolais nouveau arrives. What is less predictable is just how this vin de l’ann...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Restaurant review: NuMex needs to tell its story better to stand out among St. Petersburg’s taco scene

Restaurant review: NuMex needs to tell its story better to stand out among St. Petersburg’s taco scene

ST. PETERSBURGI seldom have been so perplexed about a new restaurant. The prospect of NuMex’s opening in the Grand Central District swirled more than a year ago and I watched the hip little building come together. The spelling of the name itself was ...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Proper in downtown St. Pete to close as Park & Rec takes over its space

Proper in downtown St. Pete to close as Park & Rec takes over its space

ST. PETERSBURG — Next week, something almost unprecedented is happening in St. Petersburg’s restaurant scene.Park & Rec, the game-oriented concept from Stephen Schrutt’s Hunger + Thirst Restaurant Group, will expand Nov. 17 into a second building. It...
Published: 11/10/17
Don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving? Where to pick up every part of the meal in Tampa Bay

Don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving? Where to pick up every part of the meal in Tampa Bay

Some years you’re feeling it. The peeling of the pearl onions, the procuring of the chestnuts, that one creepy moment when you’re nearly elbow-deep trying to locate the bag of giblets. Thanksgiving is the most important cooking holiday of the year, t...
Updated one month ago
Made Coffee’s cold brew creation is brewed and canned right here in Tampa Bay

Made Coffee’s cold brew creation is brewed and canned right here in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURGLet’s start with the actual can itself, a turquoise-tan-orange vessel emblazoned with text and illustrations: "Ingredients: coffee, water, time"; an image of a simple coffee brewing process under "How we made it." The colors pop, the fo...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/10/17
New Indian restaurant Rasoi now open in Ybor City

New Indian restaurant Rasoi now open in Ybor City

Rasoi Indian Cuisine, launched its grand opening Saturday (Nov. 4) as the only Indian restaurant in Ybor City. Located at 1701 E Eighth Ave., the traditional restaurant cooks authentic Indian food with the finest spices and ingredients imported from...
Updated one month ago
Naples is a dining destination worth visiting, rich with newcomers and long-standing favorites

Naples is a dining destination worth visiting, rich with newcomers and long-standing favorites

NAPLES Naples Restaurant Week is a semiannual promotion celebrating the region’s best dining at an affordable price, with lunch and dinner prix fixe meals available for either $25 or $35, depending on the location. This year it’s slated ...
Updated one month ago