Friday, April 20, 2018
Restaurants

Fitlife Foods concept a healthy twist on fast food

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
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Published: 04/19/18
Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

TERRA GAUCHATerra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, a classic churrascaria-style Brazilian meatery — you know, where the guys in South American cowboy attire walk around with the swords of meat until you capitulate in a carnivorous haze — has opened a loc...
Published: 04/18/18
Food events this weekend: Blueberry Festival, Whiskey Obsession, Taste of Carrollwood and more

Food events this weekend: Blueberry Festival, Whiskey Obsession, Taste of Carrollwood and more

WORTH THE DRIVE: Ocala Culinary FestivalThe Ocala Culinary Festival runs through Sunday with dozens of food and educational events throughout Ocala and Marion County. The list is impressive, tickets for events priced individually. Here is a sampler: ...
Published: 04/12/18
Tampa restaurant Steelbach’s Florida-raised beef program could be a model for true farm-to-table dining

Tampa restaurant Steelbach’s Florida-raised beef program could be a model for true farm-to-table dining

TAMPATrust me, this will be a restaurant review. In a couple of minutes. First, we need to dive into something the new Steelbach at Armature Works is doing that is ground-breaking, disruptive, way-outside-the-box. It’s so forward-thinking that Commis...
Published: 04/09/18
Updated: 04/12/18
10 questions with Molly Schuyler, the competitive eater who won $2,500 for eating a big Taco Bus burrito

10 questions with Molly Schuyler, the competitive eater who won $2,500 for eating a big Taco Bus burrito

When it comes to competitive eating, Molly Schuyler is one of the best in the world. Last weekend she dominated her competition at Tampa’s Taco Bus Burrito Eating Championship by taking down a 2.5-pound "El Jefe" in just over a minute to win $...
Published: 04/10/18
Caddy’s At the Pointe apologizes for putting diner’s race on their receipt

Caddy’s At the Pointe apologizes for putting diner’s race on their receipt

A Bradenton restaurant has publicly apologized for a server who described a table by including the diners’ race. A photograph of a Caddy’s At the Pointe receipt posted to Facebook shows the table was entered into the restaurant’s p...
Published: 04/09/18
Updated: 04/10/18
Maple Street Biscuits now open, bringing much-needed biscuits to St. Pete

Maple Street Biscuits now open, bringing much-needed biscuits to St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — I was prepared. I’d been to the Maple Street Biscuit location in Tallahassee in our circuitous escape from Hurricane Irma. The woman behind the counter was going to ask me my favorite childhood television show so it could...
Updated one month ago
This weekend’s food festivals: Celebrate wine, craft soda, shrimp and crawfish

This weekend’s food festivals: Celebrate wine, craft soda, shrimp and crawfish

CHEERS: TO DALÍRaise a glass or two to welcome spring as the Dalí hosts its seventh annual signature wine and food tasting, Los Vinos de Dalí, on Sunday from 3-7 p.m. Both Old World and New World wines are paired with tapas tastings from area restaur...
Updated one month ago
Florida chef Jeanie Roland talks competing on ‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ and the time she beat Bobby Flay

Florida chef Jeanie Roland talks competing on ‘Iron Chef Gauntlet’ and the time she beat Bobby Flay

In August 2015, Punta Gorda chef Jeanie Roland beat world-famous Bobby Flay with her signature moules-frites (that’s mussels and fries). Let’s say Flay got filleted by a petite, now 51-year-old chef in a fairly sleepy waterside Florida town not known...
Updated one month ago
Free Little Caesars for lunch today for all of America, thanks to UMBC’s NCAA upset

Free Little Caesars for lunch today for all of America, thanks to UMBC’s NCAA upset

TAMPA — Who doesn’t love free food? Who doesn’t love pizza? Well, thanks to Little Caesars and some March Madness, everybody in the country can get free pizza today. Before the NCAA men’s basketball tournament started, Little...
Updated one month ago