A new restaurant in Ceres has opened just in time to keep you from abandoning your New Year’s resolution to eat better.
Fresh Fork opened Jan. 5 on Service Road in Ceres offering “healthy fast food,” according to husband-and-wife owners Martin and Carmina Magallanes. The concept is simple — pick a protein, rice, vegetable and then serve. The restaurant’s motto is “Never Frozen, Never Fake, Never Fried” and the food is prepared fresh when ordered.
Martin Magallanes, who works full-time as an officer with the Modesto Police Department, said the restaurant is an extension of his family’s healthy lifestyle, and business. The couple, who grew up in the Dos Palos-Los Banos area, opened The Camp Transformation Center in Modesto, a fitness boot camp in north Modesto, three years ago. They also own a Camp Transformation gym in Southern California, where they lived for more than a decade before moving back to the area.
Magallanes said he has been thinking about opening a restaurant since he started the gym, but it was in the past year the couple got serious. They decided to open in Ceres, where they live, in a shopping center near the Mitchell Road exit off Highway 99 and across the street from where the new Ceres Walmart Supercenter is slated to be built.
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The menu offers three meal choices — the Little Fork’N Bowl, the Fork’N Bowl and the Fork’N Plate — which are all variations in size on the same dish. Diners choose between their protein (steak, chicken or tofu), rice (white or brown) and whether they want vegetables and the restaurant’s signature soy-based Fork’N Sauce. It’s similar to what you’d find pre-made and pre-packaged at healthy meal prep places around the region.
But Magallanes said what sets Fresh Fork apart is that the food is prepared in front of you and served steaming hot. He said that translates to food that tastes as good as it is for you. Magallanes said it’s the kind of food he and his wife and two daughters eat every day, and it works. Ten years ago, he said, the couple was heavier and out of shape. Then they got into fitness and eating better and lost more than a combined 100 pounds together.
“It’s just fresh. As soon as you order, (the meat) goes from the refrigerator onto the grill. The vegetables go into water. That keeps all the juices and marinades fresh, and gives you more flavor,” he said. “People are excited to try it because it’s something different and something healthy.”
The prices are also reasonable, ranging for $4.49 for the small bowl, $5.99 for the regular bowl and $7.49 for the plate which includes a salad. Angus steak is an extra $2 and it’s an additional dollar to go half-and-half with your proteins. And if you’re feeling extra California, you can add an avocado for $1.50.
While small, the restaurant seats around 40, the space is bright and slickly branded. You’d think it was an existing franchise already, with its logo and design. The staff of 12 wears restaurant T-shirts encouraging people to “Get Forked.”
The uniform look is no accident. Magallanes is already planning on opening more Fresh Forks in the area, including a location in Modesto in about a year. He hopes to have five opened in the region within five years.
This is the second healthy eating restaurant to open in Ceres in the past year. Last January Fired Up Grill & Meal Prep opened on Mitchell Road, offering half barbecue and half healthful fare. The owners of that restaurant actually met at the Magallanes’ The Camp Transformation Center a couple years ago, and were inspired by its meal plans. The gym has about 600 members in Modesto.
Fresh Fork, at 3018 Service Road in Ceres, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information call 209-566-8363 or visit www.freshforkgrill.com.