February 6, 2013 | 8:03am
Field of Greens (or FOG, for short), Palm Beach County's healthy salad and sandwich shop offering nutritious, made-to-order dishes, has relocated its original location to downtown West Palm Beach, and made a few improvements while they were at it.
The family-run business began in 2003 when owners Debbie and David Steinhardt opened their FOG in City Place. They wanted a lunch spot that would give people healthy, homemade eats that also offered vegan and vegetarian dishes, and soon expanded to open locations in Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens.
Now in downtown West Palm Beach off Clematis St., their newest location means a few changes to the winning formula, with new menu items and a better way of doing business.
Best known for a customizable experience, FOG allows guests to choose from a list of salads and sandwiches, all mix and match. Want that salad on a wrap? Go for it. Think a sandwich would be perfect without the bread, and just a platter? It can be done. Guests can select from more than 100 meal combinations that incorporate sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads.
To make FOG even better, West Palm Beach location co-owner Hess Musallet -- former manager of Cucina Dell'Arte
on Palm Beach Island and current part-time manager for Pistache French Bistro
-- implemented several changes that will stand as a model for the new FOG concept.
"The owners [Debbie and Dave] wanted to relocate out of City Place. It was becoming more entertainment focused for the late-night crowd, and [this is] more of a lunch place," Musallet told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "So they decided to find a new location and start fresh."
When the Steinhardts asked Musallet if he would be willing to come on board for their newest location, he did so under one condition: "I said as long as I could tweak the look and the menu, and add a juice bar, I would do it."
Musallet's vision: change everything from the interior design to the menu, everything custom-designed for an even better FOG experience. Even if you aren't hungry, the West Palm Beach FOG is a great spot to stop on Clematis St., a place where you can hang out and enjoy a few freebies, including the Wifi or complimentary cucumber-infused water.
The 3,000 square-foot space is open and spacious, with dropped ceilings removed to expose the building's original steel beams. The industrial feel is mirrored with the polished concrete floor, which has been painted in the center with a faux floor rug. A walk-up counter and ordering station is done in reclaimed wood. The seating is minimalist, iron chairs in white and brown paired with simple woodblock tables topped with a single potted rosemary plant. For more laid-back seating, the space offers chick, cushioned booths and pillow-adorned "nooks" where patrons can curl up with a good book or their laptop.
"I wanted to move away from the corporate look and feel," said Musallet, who also did away with plastic forks and plates, replacing them with mismatched dishes and silverware sourced from local thrift stores, an eco-friendly trend that will soon extend to the other FOG locations. Musallet also asked employees to deliver food to patrons at their seats, and clear plates when they are done, a touch of customer service that other FOG locations are missing, he said.
Aside from the look and feel of his establishment, Musallet made a few changes to the standard menu, adding new dishes and fresh housemade dressings, and creating a list of fresh-pressed juices and smoothies. Rather than buy dressing from a bottle, there are now just under a dozen fresh, housemade choices like the black raspberry herb, citrus and apple cider vinaigrettes specially blended for FOG by consulting chef Aaron Black, executive chef for Palm Beach's PB Catch
Black also created the recipe for one of the menu's new sandwiches, the country chicken club, a crunchy baked chicken breast with a Chex cereal, flax seed and honey-coated crust paired with cranberry jam, avocado and bacon ($8.50). And, in addition to a salad lineup that features classic favorites like the Nantucket Bleu and Chicken Caesar, you'll find the new Market, a baby arugula salad with goat cheese, house-roasted beets, apple and candied walnuts ($8.95).
The biggest change: the juice bar. Priced incredibly well, a 12-ounce juice rings in at just $5.25, while a 16-ounce is $7. Likewise, 16-ounce smoothies or post-workout protein shakes will run you $3.95 to $4.95. Like most of the FOG menu, the CYO (choose-your-own) gives you a personal pick of any of the fruits and veggies available, something typically given an up-charge at other juice bars.
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