Coast Cuisine - May 2020
- Story by Lisa Monti
Starfish Cafe, the Main Street spot known for its fresh, healthy menu and friendly atmosphere, is staying closed for now because it’s too small to operate efficiently under the prevailing 50 percent occupancy rule. And anyway, co-founder Di Fillhart says, the cozy cafe’s dining area has become a place where customers gather and talk, not socially distance themselves.
Fortunately, the Starfish Cafe spinoff, Wholey Foods, is offering healthy meal plan menus and grab-and-go options – including some Starfish Cafe-inspired dishes – safely served curbside.
Tucked in the middle of the Froogel’s shopping center on Highway 90, Wholey Foods opened early in the new year with the pledge of serving healthy meals based on fresh veggies and fruits along with clean meats. Over the last few months chef Zac Fillhart and staff have been fine-tuning the menu and adjusting hours amidst the pandemic uncertainty and restrictions.
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“One of the things we embrace in both businesses is that we walk in today and that’s the only day we need to worry about. There’s no sense in trying to project what’s going to happen, that’s useless energy. It’s how we’re handling it,” she said.
The Fillharts are sticking with their original model of preparing flavorful meals with quality, seasonal ingredients. The simple meal plan is no grain, dairy or sweeteners. The basic plan adds grains and dairy to the simple plan. The active meals are double portions of the basic plan.
There’s a plan for those following the Keto path as well as the Wholey Seniors plan designed for those over age 60, with smaller portions but the same great flavors.
“We recently started offering a Dinners Only for Keto and Wholey Seniors,” Di added.
All meal plans come with five meals each for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wholey Foods creates a six-week menu rotation with 90 different recipes that changes every 12 weeks. The new spring/summer menu is taking advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the colorful meals they promise will “make your immune system leap for wellness.”
Think salmon with coconut rice and mango, or lemon dill shrimp salad for grab-and-go dining. Or ricotta-stuffed portobellos, or fish and tomatoes with caper sauce from the meal plan’s revolving menu. Wholey Foods also has healthy sweet treats in traditional, low-carb and gluten free versions.
Add-ons are available for purchase, and delivery is offered for a small fee.
Wholey Foods also has come up with a couple of inventive Take, Make and Bake kits with those looking for something to whip up at home and get the family involved.
“We’re trying to be inventive,” says Di. One kit introduced last week will yield a traditional 18-inch pizza, or a low-carb or gluten-free version. The kit includes a fresh dough ball, sauce, cheese and toppings.
“The kids can gather around, and the family can roll out the pizza dough and bake it on a cookie sheet or pizza stone,” said Di. Prices range from $12 to $15 per kit.
The take-and-bake cookie kit yields 48 one-ounce cookies after you add eggs, vanilla and butter.
Another new twist to the carry-out options comes from Chef Scott of Fatsumo Sushi in Pass Christian. Di said the chef has been a gracious supporter “since day one” at Starfish. He noticed customers from the Bay at his Pass restaurant and offered to save them a drive by delivering orders one day a week for curbside pickup.
Customers can order sushi on the Wholey Foods website http://wholeyfoodsbsl.com/ on Tuesday, pay with a credit card and pick up on Wednesday afternoon. Choices include appetizers, noodles and a variety of sushi in different sizes, all made fresh for pickup day.
Wholey Foods currently offers grab-and-go items Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 pm and meal plan pickup on Tuesday from 3 to 6 pm. Check out their Facebook page for updates.
Ten percent of all profits from Wholey Foods goes to Starfish Café’s mission to help those “recovering from the hardships of life, through providing experiential education in life and restaurant skills, preparing them for a successful and fulfilling life, and allowing them to experience fresh healthy foods.”
295 U.S. 90
Bay St. Louis