When I attended a preview event for Fresh Thymes Eatery, located in the Steel Yards in Boulder, someone described the concept as “the Barefoot Contessa meets Boulder crunchy granola.”
Not a terrible description. Fresh Thymes Eatery is part prepared foods shop, part sit-down restaurant, but all healthy—and more importantly, delicious. Managing partner and chef Christine Ruch has been battling and effectively managing Celiac Disease and Multiple Sclerosis through clean eating for years, and taught both whole food nutrition and food allergy awareness as head of Bauman College’s culinary department. So you might be able to imagine some of what her menu looks like: lots of local kale, Brussels sprouts and leafy greens, and no wheat flour, cane sugar, peanuts, or artificial anything.
What you might not imagine is how remarkably tasty it all is.
The overwhelming feeling I get when dining at Fresh Thymes Eatery—whether opting for table service or take out—is a blissful sense of how virtuous I’m being. I say blissful, because usually such healthy fare might make you feel good intellectually, but leave you wanting in the taste department. Not so here.
Take, for example, the bountiful and leafy counter salads. These change frequently. But on my visits, I sampled a shaved brussels sprouts salad with honey mustard dressing that balanced a combination of sweet and spicy, and a kale salad with roasted squash in a sweet, savory vinaigrette. These salads will turn the heads of even avowed salad haters.
But haters are likely to find something to love here, too. How about a big plate of creamy, gluten-free macaroni and cheese with caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes, for example? The warm veggie sandwich spilling over with mushrooms and feta on a gluten-free baguette took my husband by surprise (in a good way). And don’t even get me started on the pork tortilla soup, which was really more like a thick, rich, spicy, stew—not that we were complaining. Even the desserts, like the magic bars that took me back to childhood, are unbelievably good considering they are gluten- and cane sugar-free.
Beyond the food, Fresh Thymes Eatery is also cool for its method of raising capital. It’s a Community Supported Restaurant, or CSR (they call it “Localvesting”). It works like a farm CSA in that members buy a “share” of the restaurant’s food for their upfront contribution. And actually, it’s a pretty stellar deal, netting members a 20- to 40-percent return on their investment by way of tasty comestibles.
This place is the perfect fit for Boulder, catering to the food needs and whims of anyone in your party. Where else can the vegan and the carnivore, the gluten-free and the locavore all find things on the same menu to please their palate?
Fresh Thymes Eatery
2500 30th Street #101, Boulder
Bottom line: Healthy, allergy-friendly food that tastes a lot better than it sounds.