At this restaurant in Boulder, you don’t have to apologize for asking them to hold the cheese, put the dressing and sesame seeds on the side so you can measure out one tablespoon, add a dash of pesto, half the quinoa and sub the steak for sustainably caught salmon, so you can meet your pescatarian, gluten-free macros.
Tweaks to the menu aren’t just supported; they’re encouraged. They’re built into the model at Flower Child.
Flower Child, at 2580 Arapahoe Ave., is a new, casual, fast, healthy joint in the Village Shopping Center. It opened in August as the first Flower Child branch in Colorado.
Now, while Flower Child is a (gasp) chain with 13 locations in five other states, it feels like it was built just for Boulder. If the name doesn’t speak for itself, there’s also “yoga mat parking,” peace symbol artwork, patio seating and all the food is made entirely from scratch centered around seasonal, fresh produce. Built into its customer service model is the desire to inspire a happy world.
“From the moment you walk in, you notice the buzzing energy, like a farmers’ market, and the genuine smiles on staff who are truly happy to be helping people find a good menu item that fits within their diet and what they want to eat, to make people feel happy and feel good,” says Christian Brabec, brand manager for Flower Child. “This helps people have an incredible experience and carry that positive vibe into the rest of their day.”
(See? We told you it sounds oh so Boulder.)
While you order at a counter and it’s quick enough to get in and out over a fast lunch break, every plate is made to order. Which is why Flower Child can accommodate all kinds of dietary needs, whether it’s for your health, an allergy or contributing to a fitness or athletic goal.
“Sometimes it can feel like a chore or is hard to find a restaurant to accommodate your needs, especially when going out with friends who don’t have the same dietary restrictions. We are able to please people who don’t have restrictions with flavorful, healthy food and accommodate those who have things to be conscious of when dining out, and satisfy the whole group of people,” Brabec says.
If you have a specific goal but aren’t exactly sure how to reach it, Brabec says the staff is trained to help you put the perfect plate together.
“It’s not going to be a nuisance. We’re more than happy and able to accommodate whatever you need,” he says.
In the short time it’s been open, Brabec says Boulder’s response has been great.
Before You Order
The menu is broken into four main sections (salads, plates, bowls and wraps), plus starters, desserts and drinks. The salads tend to shift seasonally (like the watermelon and farro salad served with pomegranate and preserved lemon vinaigrette), the wraps tend to change less frequently (a staple is the Rebel Wrap: steak, charred onion, port salut cheese, arugula, horseradish yogurt) and the bowls are pretty self-explanatory.
A best-seller is the Mother Earth Bowl, a vegan dish (although you can add meat) with ancient grains, sweet potato, portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onion, greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette and hemp seeds.
Brabec thinks of it as a combo of a bunch of smaller recipes, which he says brings a lot of flavor and variety to the meal.
“I’m not a vegan but I go for that because it’s so much flavor, filling and really unique,” he says.
The plates are one of the restaurant’s more unique offerings. Here, you can pick one to three sides (out of about a dozen different sides, from fruit to veggies to seasonal items) to mix and match to compose your own plate. Sides may include grilled asparagus with ancient grains and ginger miso, Sichuan green beans with snap peas, fermented chile and cilantro or organic “smashed” potatoes with roasted garlic and thyme.
Then add protein (chicken, grass-fed steak, salmon or organic, non-GMO tofu).
Brabec also recommends ordering the avocado hummus, a combo of avocados and spices topped with sweet corn radish, clementine and pumpkin seed, and served with a whole-wheat pita or veggies.
“It’s so smooth and creamy and flavorful. I could eat buckets of it,” he says.
For drinks, you can find organic juices, organic cold brew on tap, coffee, seasonal lemonade and kombucha on tap. The restaurant also serves alcohol: organic wine and local beer.
While you’re likely to be too stuffed after eating at Flower Child to need dessert, if you crave a sweet finish, all desserts are made in house and gluten-free. The lemon olive oil cake is light and refreshing, about the size of a cupcake, and a good way to end your meal on a light note.