DIEPPE – Eat Clean Healthy Grill & Juice Bar will open a franchise location on 40 Champlain St. to serve the Greater Moncton area in January of next year, said company founder and CEO John-Paul Morrissey. This will be the brand’s first New Brunswick location.
“The concept is a healthy food restaurant that caters to all healthy diet types,” Morrissey said. “So, whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, bodybuilder, weight loss meals, paleo… we’ve got something for everybody. And the menu was created with nutritionists and dietitians.”
Eat Clean currently has five locations in three provinces: Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Four more locations are opening within the next few months, including one in Kelowna, B.C., and the one in Dieppe, which is owned by franchisee Noelle Fraser. A potential Ontario location is also in the works.
Fraser used to be a customer of Eat Clean in Fort McMurray, where she worked as a quality control officer for the oil industry.
“I would buy [prepared meals], freeze them and then eat them. It was just great because it was inexpensive, it was healthy, and I couldn’t do my own meal prep at home,” she said.
When she returned to the East Coast to live in Moncton, the Cape Bretonian has more time to cook meals but found it difficult to find healthy places to eat for her and her family.
“I decided I need to open it because I feel like we need it here,” she said. “I’m all for balance. Sometimes you’ve got to eat a burger, but my whole thing is, I can eat a grass-fed beef burger from [Eat Clean] and still feel satisfied without all the added grease.”
The first Eat Clean location opened in St John’s in 2014 after a weight gain led Morrissey to eat healthier. He used to play hockey competitively when he was younger. But when he stopped, he began to gain weight fast.
“When I was playing hockey all the time, I didn’t really put on any weight. But as soon as I stopped playing, I gained, like, 40, 50 pounds over a short period of time. Just chicken wings and beer, and living the college life,” he explained. “After living that way for a year or two, I felt really lethargic and depressed. So I was like, I need to make a change.”
At the suggestion of his colleagues at work, he began following a meal management program that allows him to eat junk food only one day of the week.
“I started eating clean for six days. On the seventh day, when I started eating junk, I noticed that as much as I looked forward to my junk food meals, I felt like I was beginning to get sick every time I ate the junk food meals on the ‘free day,'” he said.
He stuck to the program for 14 weeks and did lose weight. But not without challenges.
“The hardest part was finding meals to eat clean. And basically, I was trying to prep my meals before work the next day, and it was time-consuming,” he said. “I just came up with the idea that there should be a place that you can walk into and everything is done for you. If you’re a bodybuilder or you want to lose weight or you want to eat paleo style or you’re vegan, or whatever your diet style as long as it’s healthy, it’s there.”
Like the other locations, the Dieppe restaurant will serve smoothies, various fruit juices, breakfast pancakes and eggs, wraps, salads, soups, some rice, quinoa and pasta bowls, and lean-meat burgers, among other items. There’s also a kids menu.
The restaurant also offers catering and prepared meals that customers can customize.
“You can do three meals a day, or you can do two meals a day. And you can pick them up fresh every day or pick them up every other day, depending on your schedule. Or you can pick them up all at one time, put it in your fridge and heat them later,” he said.
The 1,850-square-foot location will take over the space that previously hosted Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters. Fraser said she will likely have 6-to-10 staff members there to start off.
There’s no set opening date yet, but Morrissey said it will likely be mid-January, “depending on the construction and the timing.”
Morrissey is hoping to see positive feedback and support from the Greater Moncton community. He’s also looking forward to potentially opening other franchise locations in New Brunswick.
“It’s going well out West and we’re hoping that people in New Brunswick really get into the ‘eat clean’ movement because food is an essential part of healthy living and probably the most important… hopefully we can help a lot of kids too, not only the adults, in the area to eat healthier at younger ages,” he said. “I’m sure once we’re open there, there’ll be more inquiries [for franchise opportunities]. Hopefully.”