By Srianthi Perera
Flower Child, which opened its first outlet in Chandler recently, has a catchy slogan: “Healthy Food for a Happy World.”
The restaurant seeks to fulfill its premise by making food from scratch, sourcing ingredients close to each eatery’s location whenever possible and serving healthy food for a variety of lifestyles.
“Whether you’re (eating) gluten-free, vegan, following a strict dietary regimen or just hungry, Flower Child offers a wide range of options for you to enjoy,” said Mark Yost, general manager.
The fast-casual menu offers unusual combinations of ingredients.
Examples are salads, such as Ginger Miso Crunch (carrot zoodles, zucchini, red pepper, Asian cabbage, mint, cashew and sesame seeds) and bowls, such as the Forbidden Rice (including black pearl, red japonica, snap pea, Bok choy and red chili hoisin.
Entrees include Yuzu Brussels Sprouts (charred onion, savoy cabbage and golden miso) and wraps including the Thai Dye (spicy tofu, Thai basil, avocado, carrot, daikon radish, cilantro and snap pea.
The Bolognese Bowl consists of a base of flavorful zucchini strands nestling against the organic pureed tomato flavored with wild mushrooms, red lentil, basil, and parmesan.
A dollop of soft burrata, an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream, sits side-by-side with thin cuts of chicken.
Drinks include the seasonal lemonade and kombucha on tap along with a selection of loose-leaf hot teas, wines, sangria and local craft beers.
The simple dessert choices are topped by a 420-calorie, sharable chocolate pudding made of sweetened cocoa and milk.
Part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts, Flower Child’s first Chandler location is at The Shoppes at Casa Paloma, in the southwest corner of Ray Road and 56th Street. It is the sixth Arizona outlet, and joins others in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Gilbert.
The restaurant launched 2014 in the Arcadia area of Phoenix. Over the years, the company has opened restaurants in many other states, including California, Texas and Georgia.
The Chandler location offers a large, airy, and high-ceilinged dining room and a wrap-around patio for pleasant, on-site dining. Multi-generational families may find the setting appropriate, while two friends may also have a quieter meal.
The décor includes a cluster of lamps shaded by wicker soften the rafters and metals of the industrial design ceiling. Cane chairs are woven tightly with a black and white basket weave and a floral mural by local artist Andy Brown takes prominence on the far wall.
“We want all of our locations to be designed in a way so when you walk in, you know you’re at Flower Child,” Yost said.
“However, as we grow across the country, we have identified ways of introducing paintings or artwork in a way that continues to embody our Flower Child brand, but also helps us to fit in with our new neighborhoods and communities.”
Many restaurants serve healthy food, so how does Flower Child stand out in the community?
Yost pointed to the focus on catering to different palettes and lifestyles, as well as the quality of ingredients.
“We don’t only focus on one type of healthy food. For example, we don’t solely offer gluten-free options, we aren’t an exclusively vegan restaurant, we offer a menu for everyone to enjoy,” he said. “Whether you’re eating our Chicken Enchiladas or a Chopped Vegetable Salad, the ingredients we source will always be of the best quality available.”
The restaurant is also known for its carefully chosen employees. Brand founder Sam Fox, according to the company, is “passionate about hospitality.”
“In addition to the food we serve, we have cultivated one of the friendliest, most hospitable staffs I have ever been a part of,” Yost said. “We have a diverse team with a large array of skillsets, but the common denominator among everyone on our team is hospitality.”
Exclusive to the Arizona Flower Child locations, Phoenix Sun fans can eat like famed power forward Cam Johnson by ordering his signature, “Cam’s Power Meal.” The bowl consists of salmon, gluten-free mac and cheese, and roasted broccoli.
For each meal purchased, guests are entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a number 23 jersey autographed by Johnson. This special will be featured throughout the basketball season.