Health-conscious locals filled Sprig, the newest fast-casual, healthy-dining option in northern Colorado Springs, during a Taste and Tour event Thursday, just one week after the store opened at at 7 Spectrum Loop.
Mitchell Yellen, founder of Altitude Hospitality Group, discovered his passion for whole foods and clean eating when he saw his sister extend her life by 18 years and defy the odds of cancer with clean eating.
Since then, he opened several healthy restaurants in the area, including Till Kitchen, Garden of the Gods Market & Café and The Pinery, all operated under Altitude Hospitality Group. Yellen said he opened Sprig in a still-developing part of northern Colorado Springs to meet the need in the area.
“I thought it would be good to have something north,” Yellen said of his decision to open the restaurant in the area, mentioning the local growth and development. “There’s going to be a lot of traffic up here. You always look at that when you’re picking a location. Probably that, other than your concept, you want to have great aesthetic and great food and great staff, (but if) you have a bad location, you’re in trouble.”
Though the area he chose is still developing, Yellen is confident Sprig will attract a following as the north end of town grows, adding that he thinks it will bring in people who want healthy food but don’t have the time to prepare it.
“As you can see out our window here, we have a lot of dirt and a lot of development and (the) freeway’s going in, so, it’s going to be like this for the next year or two, but, I feel good about what’s out here around me, that there are enough people out here,” Yellen said. “Based on what I’ve been seeing the last nine days ... people are going, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this type of clean eating to the area.’”
In its short time since opening, Sprig has already established a loyal following with some residents. According to Yellen, the Sherman family has been in the restaurant daily since it opened.
“An opportunity to eat like this, you don’t get it very often,” Flying Horse resident and Sprig regular Andrew Sherman said. Sherman and his family have frequented the restaurant since it opened on Jan. 21. “It’s healthy and reasonably priced. Getting something that’s organic, and healthy, (and) farm-to-table is so unique, there’s just not many places like that.”
Yellen said Sprig’s menu was carefully crafted through a partnership with an organization in Portland. The result is a menu of healthy, reasonably priced bowls designed to satisfy the busy, health-conscious person who doesn’t have time to make a healthy smoothie or a lunch. Everything is made and prepared in the restaurant, with nothing coming from bulk or pre-packaged foods. Restaurant staff arrives early and stays late to make sure everything from homemade pesto to fresh-baked cookies is ready for guests when they arrive.
According to Sprig’s Project Manager Mimi Wheeler, everything about the restaurant is designed to give the customer a clean, fast and fresh experience. Customers have several options for ordering. The store has a drive-through window, and clients can also order at a register or at three self-serve registers in the restaurant. Soon, Sprig will have an app and online ordering available. The meals are made-to-order and placed in a display case for customers to pick up once they are ready.
The restaurant was designed to look clean and to highlight the food. It’s decorated with white walls and offers stadium seating that is popular with the after-school crowd and with the stay-at-home moms. The clean aesthetic highlights the colorful food choices, but the bathrooms are decorated with a pop of color, just to keep things interesting, Wheeler said.
“I’m hoping that people see that we’re on the cutting edge,” Yellen said. “We want to basically say to people, we’ve thought through this.”