“Texture is huge for us,” says Jesse Gideon, chief operating officer and corporate chef of Fresh to Order, a 10-unit chain of “fast-fine” restaurants based in Atlanta. “When we design food, it’s not just about how it looks and tastes and smells, it’s also about how it feels on your palate.”
The menu features panini, salads and entrees prepared to order, including signatures such as Almond Crusted Seared Tuna and Asian Chicken Crunch panini, as well as a variety of substantial salads garnished with ingredients such as candied nuts, crispy noodles, dried cherries, raisins, figs and tortilla crisps.
In the Chicken Crunch Panini, the chicken breast is coated with crushed almonds, panko crumbs, sesame seeds and seasonings. The almonds are crushed by hand and mixed into the breading just before the chicken is coated and cooked.
The Grilled Salmon Panini, with bourbon-marinated salmon, avocado, lettuce and tarragon aioli, gets a texture boost from Corn Cilantro Relish studded with roasted fresh corn, red onions and red peppers. “The crunchy pop of the relish ties the whole sandwich together,” says Gideon.
Also offering diverse palate sensations is the Mediterranean salad, a toss of mixed greens, feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, olive salad, grilled onions, toasted almonds, herbs and red grapes. But even the side dishes at Fresh to Order can surprise you. Take the Wheat Berry Rice, a blend of long grain and short grain rice mixed with multicolored pasta pearls cooked al dente.
“We’re hitting on a lot of different textural and flavor combinations,” Gideon says.
Menu Sampler: Fresh to Order
- Almond Chicken Skewers; $11.60
Almond-rosemary crust, sweet mashed potatoes, Asian slaw, twin sauces
- Crispy Tenderloins of Chicken; $11.50
Crispy ale-laced chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, honey mustard, BBQ sauce
- Southwest Salad; $7.90
Mixed greens, tomatoes, cheese, roasted corn, golden raisins, cranberries, tortilla crisps, Southwest ranch