I spoke this morning with Phillip Naylor, who took some time out of his on-going renovation of the former OW Pizza location on West 3rd to talk about Fresh!, a new cafe he hopes will be ready to open by mid-May. The new restaurant will focus on providing fresh, healthy food at an affordable price point, something Naylor says grew from his own inability to find healthy things to eat after a gastric sleeve surgery several years ago.

“I thought to myself, if I can’t find [healthy food], there are a lot of people who can’t find it,” says Naylor, who envisions a restaurant that is both a throwback to the deli sandwiches he enjoyed from his local Safeway growing up but with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and limited food waste. 

We chatted about the new menu, and I have to say I’m pretty excited for it. Sandwich options like Parmesan Basil Chicken Salad, a mayo-free Tuna Salad with olives and lemon juice, a Curry Egg Salad and Pimento Cheese (from a family recipe) all sound delightful—and when Naylor told me he would be using Arkansas Fresh bread for all his sandwiches, things just got more exciting. 

In addition to the sandwiches, Fresh! will also feature a salad bar loaded with fresh vegetables, three soups daily, and a pizza oven where 6″ personal pizzas will be cooked up to order. Naylor also plans to open for breakfast, with a selection of sweet rolls, homemade “pop tarts,” and breakfast pizzas available. And for folks who prefer their meals in liquid form, Fresh! will also be serving espresso and operating a full juice bar. 

Naylor’s excitement about the things he wants to do at Fresh! is contagious, and I found myself wanting to eat a bite of everything as he described it. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the new cafe—and if you work down near the Capitol, life is about to get a lot more delicious for you.