Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton eatery 'Fresh 3' serves food that is truly fresh

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The three in “Fresh 3,” a new eatery located at 356 Indian Boundary Road, may refer to its basic menu items: burgers, burritos and bowls.

Or, it may refer to its three standards it strives for each day: high quality food, cleanliness, and customer service.

But there are two things Fresh 3 owner Vijay Puniani says you will not see at his restaurant – freezers and heat lamps.

There is no need for them because everything on the menu is certified fresh, cooked right in front of after you order and served to the customer in six to eight minutes, Puniani said.

“Everything is brought in fresh, never frozen,” he said.

The very first Fresh 3 opened in Chesterton on May 10; a second opened in Crown Point about a month later on June 1.

Puniani owned his first restaurant in India in 1974 and came to the United States in 1978 where he worked in real estate and owned a number of stores and restaurants. He decided to open a new restaurant after he “got bored” taking an early retirement in 2002.

The new restaurant would be different than the fast food chain stores that sell processed food or food that has been previously frozen, even restaurants that advertise as having “fresh” or “gourmet” food. “The quality at other places is so horrible, I would not even classify that as food,” Puniani said.

The burgers served are Certified Angus Beef brand for juiciness and flavor, a grade only 8 percent of beef served in the U.S. makes, Puniani said.

Other sandwich choices include a turkey burger and a lean grilled chicken breast sandwich. A wide array of free toppings range from the essential lettuce and tomato to bolder items like the xxx salsa, grilled mushrooms and the one-and-only F3 sauce.

Burrito options are grilled chicken, grilled sirloin steak, tenderrito (chicken tender burrito), and a vegetarian type.

Not just a burger and burrito joint, Fresh 3 offers mixed-green salads or gourmet rice bowls that customers can customize by adding chicken, steak or grilled vegetables and sauce it up with a variety of dressings.

Side orders make the entrées a meal. But Puniani said the store cooks its chicken tenders like no other quick service restaurant. The tenders are fresh chunks of chicken, never processed, which are hand-dipped in batter then cooked.

Another popular item is the store’s homemade guacamole prepared several times each day.

“Nothing beats freshness in the goodness of food,” said Puniani.

Puniani said a very big thing diners are looking for is cleanliness and he teaches his employees about handling food with the highest hygienic standards and care.

In streamlining the ordering process even further, Fresh 3 will debut this week the Fresh 3’s order ticket system that will eliminate the need to stand in line. Customers can walk in, find a table, circle their choices, and hand their tickets to the server without taking time away from any other customer. Separate tickets will be made up for burgers and sandwiches, burritos and bowls.

Keeping the customer satisfied with reliability and integrity generates good word of mouth which is the best way to grow a business, Puniani said. “No matter where you are, you can always get closer to perfection.”

Puniani said it is his dream not to open more Fresh 3 stores and start a chain. If it becomes as big as the main quick service competitors, Chesterton will be known as Fresh 3’s birthplace.

“I would like to put this town on the map and I hope everyone in Chesterton supports us in the effort,” Puniani said.

 

Posted 7/17/2012