Looking for restaurants to help you make a fresh start in 2022? Put Fresh Kitchen on your list. The Jersey shore eatery has locations in Sea Girt and Point Pleasant and two additional spots coming soon to Long Branch and Little Silver.
On the Menu
Fresh Kitchen’s menu items include various stock pots, as well as salads, grain bowls, and wraps—and every dish is customizable. Founder Mike Nitto refers to the restaurant’s style as “fast casual,” and the food is anywhere from 90% to 95% organic, depending on the season. People can create whatever meal they’d like, and those who prefer not to come up with their own combination can go for a signature option, such as the Queen Quinoa grain bowl or the Arriba Arriba, a south-of-the-border-style wrap. “It’s designed so somebody can build their own meal to whatever their [dietary] needs are,” Nitto said.
Quality protein is also a priority for Fresh Kitchen. Guests can add their choice of protein to any meal, and they have their choice of organic chicken, grass-fed steak, ancho pork tenderloin, and organic tofu.
Before Fresh Kitchen
Sports, travel, and healthy eating have always been part of Mike Nitto’s life. In fact, he always dreamed of attending culinary school. Ultimately, though, he received a business degree and started his own manufacturing company.
In 2006, Nitto took up mixed martial arts in 2006, as he traveled the world for his business. During this time, he realized more needed to be done to create healthy, accessible meals.
“I would be on the road traveling, and it would be impossible to find a meal that wasn’t loaded with salt or fat,” Nitto explained. “I would have to walk into a restaurant and say, ‘Can you grill me a piece of chicken and steam me some vegetables?’”
Nitto’s dining experience in South Korea, specifically, was one he carried with him on his culinary journey. “All of our meals were fresh,” he said, giving credit to the country’s health-conscious nature. But the daily breakfast stocks were what grabbed his attention most. “There would be a pot of stock, and you would put whatever you wanted in it,” Nitto said, citing shrimp, meat, and vegetables as three typical add-ons.
Putting a Plan in Place
When Nitto returned from South Korea, he knew he wanted to incorporate the stocks into his own culinary endeavor. “I came back and started making my own bone broth and thought, ‘Wow, we need to have this here.’” Over time, a plan came together, and in 2016, Nitto, along with co-owners Mary Kate Nitto and Chris Burgess, opened Fresh Kitchen in Sea Girt.
Nitto paired up with Chef Chris Burgess to prepare the restaurant’s menu, but finding the right chef wasn’t easy. Nitto said he interviewed upwards of 20 people before he spoke with Burgess. He said, “Within the first minute of the conversation, unsolicited, [Burgess] said, ‘Stock is near and dear to my heart,’ And I knew it was the perfect fit.”
Sea Girt hours:
Monday to Friday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hours are subject to change.
Point Pleasant hours:
Daily: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hours are subject to change