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Chefs aim to 'take the thinking out of eating well'

Chuck Connolly has opened Health Fit Foods with partner Mike Phillips in Flat Rock Square. Chuck Connolly has opened Health Fit Foods with partner Mike Phillips in Flat Rock Square.

Mike Phillips and Chuck Connolly figure that many people who want to eat healthier don’t know how.

 

“The goal for us is to that anyone can walk in, grab a meal and not really have to think about it,” Phillips says. The tagline for their takeout business, which evolves this week to an all-day sit-down restaurant, sums it up: “Healthy caloric intake foods that take the thinking out of eating well.”
Phillips and Connolly do the thinking for you. Both professional chefs who trained at Johnson & Wales, they’ve traveled different roads to get to reach this one place.
Connolly helped start Hubba Hubba Smokehouse with Starr Teel and before that was the chef at Sinbad, the Mediterranean restaurant on Washington Street downtown. In recent years, he’s been running his Nosh Catering business out of Greenville, S.C. (He’s catering the mystery dinner theater events at the Center for Arts & Inspiration.)
Phillips is more about fitness 24-7. He owns and operates Body Energy Pilates and Wellness Studio, also in Flat Rock Square.
From a small storefront in Flat Rock Square, they’ve been selling takeout and delivery orders of healthy low-cal meals for about six months.
“Most of the people are going out to eat and anytime you’re ordering stuff in a restaurant you’d be surprised at how much caloric intake there is in all their meals,” he said. “The fun part is it’s surprising to people that it’s actually really tasty and for the price point we have you can’t really find meals at that price and eat that inexpensively.”
The current menu includes Tuscan braised chicken thighs with collard greens, butternut squash, cannelloni beans and chicken stock for $6, smoked salmon with cucumber, peppers, red onions and capers for $7, lime chicken and skirt steak tacos for $6, Moroccan Poke bowl for $6, curry spinach tofu, sweet potatoes, green peas, chick peas and tomato for $6, Ahi tuna salad for $9, paprika garlic shrimp with lemon avocado, grape tomatoes, saffron rice and sherry black beans for $7 and a black bean burger with plantain fries for $7.
Breakfast items include an egg white roll with asparagus, mushrooms, onion and tomato for $6, quiche over a spring salad for $6, and cauliflower English muffin with egg, Jarlsberg cheese, kale, shallot, leeks and grape tomato for $4.
Health Fit has been delivering to offices in downtown Hendersonville — usually 10 or more meals per location.
The two chefs plan to open the dine-in restaurant on Thursday.
“It’s of course down to the wire,” Phillips said.
They have room to expand if they need to into the Village Vault next door, an event space owned by a third partner, Sid Blythe, who owns Flat Rock Square. They’re not pursuing beer and wine “because if you are serving any kind of alcohol it’s not exactly healthy for you,” Phillips said.
Connolly had been thinking about the healthy food concept for 20 years before the culture caught up with the idea.
“At that time, no one wanted to buy it, no one was interested, no one cared,” he said. “Nowadays, it’s what everybody wants. … Meals are based off the caloric intake, between 250 and 450 calories.”
They also can connect customers with dieticians to plan meals and health trainers who will guide people to an overall lifestyle for better health.
“Many years ago I couldn’t sell this business if I wanted to,” Connolly said. “Now everybody wants it. I’ve got five people down in Greenville that want to franchise this business and I haven’t even opened here yet.”

 

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Health Fit Foods, 2702 Suite C, Greenville Highway (Flat Rock Square), is open for takeout orders. It plans to open its dining room Thursday, April 18. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. For information call 828-707-5535 or visit healthfitfoods.fit.