Crisp Greens moving to new Sixth Ave home, downtown Tacoma coming next
If the pandemic has taught chef-owner Corie Cameron anything, it’s this: Be scrappy and don’t be afraid to shake up the business plan.
And that’s how Cameron wound up with a new home for Crisp Greens, her excellent salad and soup restaurant in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood.
Cameron, who has a background in nutrition and as a private chef, is known for her gluten-free, keto-friendly, nutrient-walloped salads and power bowls. She also runs a prepared meals service out of her Sixth Avenue location.
THE BIG MOVE FOR CRISP GREENS
She wasn’t necessarily looking to relocate her Sixth Avenue restaurant, but when she heard the Black Bear Yogurt space at the corner of Sixth and Union was available, she inquired immediately and landed the space. Cameron, who operates Crisp Greens with husband Sean Guay, is relocating seven blocks – from the tiny storefront at 4312 Sixth Ave. to the larger frozen yogurt space at 3602 Sixth Ave.
Her plan is to close her original Crisp Greens this week and make the move in the span of about another week, but keep an eye on the restaurant’s social media for updates because moving a restaurant, even seven blocks away, is a major undertaking.
While she wasn’t planning the move, she said the pivot felt right because she’s struggled with meeting demand in her current restaurant space. The move, combined with the expansion plans to downtown Tacoma near the University of Washington Tacoma (more on that in a moment), will help her grow in size and scope.
BIGGER SPACE, EXPANDED MENU
“It will be much bigger,” explained Cameron of her new home for Crisp Greens. More room means she can expand the concept in ways she could not at her first location that she opened in spring 2019.
First up: She plans to use the yogurt machines left behind from Black Bear.
“I will have that wall of frozen yogurt handles that I can offer acai, sorbet, vegan yogurts. I want a healthy version of Dole Whip. We’re going to experiment and find out. There has to be something you can do with a natural honey or coconut sugar, or even fresh pineapple juice.”
“I’ll focus on the healthier aspects of desserts,” she said. She eschews added sugars in her recipes, and packs nutrients into everything she makes, whether it’s her meal service offering low-carb meal planning or her gluten-free grain-and-veggie bowls that can be ordered at her storefront for immediate eating.
“We constantly want to change things and have fun,” said Cameron. The new space will allow her to do that in every way – from the electronic menu boards she hopes to install to growing her menu with healthy frozen desserts, and providing more dine-in space when she’s able.
The new space yields a bonus for her meal service clients. Pickup will be easier at the new Sixth Avenue location. “There’s a nice big parking lot right behind the building,” she said.
Her concept remains largely the same as it has since she opened Crisp Greens two years ago. She’ll offer veggie-packed build-your-own salads and power bowls for drop-in diners who order at the counter and find their own seat (when dine-in resumes for Cameron). Diners can select from a huge menu of ingredients to assemble a salad with a house-made dressing of choice, plus a long list of protein and dip options.
She’ll also offer daily soup choices.
Her menu also includes composed menus and power bowls in pre-set configurations, but made to order. Those are popular with diners who want to get in-and-out quickly, which is a hallmark for the restaurant that specializes in to-go food and delivery through third-party delivery apps.
She caters to a flexible range of eaters who have dietary limitations of all kinds. She skips wheat and favors gluten-free ingredients, has many vegan-friendly options, dairy-free options and her food is ideal for a low-carb diet.
Want to swap brown rice for cauliflower tabbouleh? No problem. She can do that. Need a salad with dressing that has no added sugar? No worries. She’s got you covered with several choices.
CRISP GREENS: MORE EXPANSION ON THE WAY
“From our family to yours, we understand how hard it is to eat healthy. That’s why we feel we’re good at feeding families,” Cameron told me in 2019 when she opened her first storefront. She and Guay have four children. “We know what kids like to eat and how to feed them healthily. I feel like this is how the whole thing started. I wanted everybody to feed their kids healthy.”
Now her healthy feeding will extend to college students, too. When she heard of an opportunity that opened up when Savor Creperie, near the University of Washington Tacoma closed, she once again moved quickly to expand. She leased that space last year. She recently decided she’ll have a September opening for the downtown Crisp Greens. If all goes as planned, she’ll debut Crisp Greens downtown over Labor Day weekend.
“We started looking downtown probably about two years ago and it took us six months to find the location on Pacific Avenue,” she said. They signed the lease and then the pandemic hit and they put a pause on that expansion, which was mutually agreeable with her landlord, the University of Washington Tacoma. “They’ve been great and have been encouraging us to open up when school restarts in September,” said Cameron.
That location will satisfy the need for fast grab-and-go food with prepared salads ready to eat, plus order-at-the-counter for those who have a few extra minutes and can wait for a salad to be made to order. Watch the restaurant’s social media for more opening details.
New Sixth Ave location: 3602 Sixth Ave., Tacoma (opening this week or next)
Downtown Tacoma location: 1916 Pacific Ave., Tacoma (opening in September)
Crisp Meals prepared meals service: https://www.crispmeals.co/