Fifteen Minutes with Doug Hernandez and Andrea Montgomery from Fresh Twisted Café
By Kimberly Boney
By Kimberly Bonéy
When did you open Fresh Twisted Café? In April, we’ll celebrate five years in business. Doug is the owner, and I work behind the scenes as a support system.
Tell us how the business got started.
We originally had a fruit stand. It had smoothies and sandwiches only – nothing hot. We expanded into the area next to the original spot with a family-friendly restaurant in mind. As parents, we were always looking for a place that was kid-friendly, so we created one. We also have a small retail space that supports other local vendors. We have products from Lavender Ranch, Naked Coffee and Chili Gods Hot Sauce, to name a few. Many products are not only available in the retail space, but are incorporated into the dishes we serve, as well.
What kind of food do you serve? Smoothies with fresh fruits and veggies are a big part of our menu. We also serve fresh juices by the glass or the gallon. We have vegan and gluten free options, organic beef burgers, and vegan and gluten free bread made in house. Energy and immunity boosters, many of which are also organic, vegan and gluten free, are available.
Why did you launch a restaurant that was geared toward healthy eating? We saw a need within the community and within our family. Our son is on the spectrum, so it was important to have menu items that were considerate of his dietary needs. We wanted it to be a place that the whole family could find something delicious and healthy on the same menu.
Where do your products come from? My family’s farm is in Paskenta, in Tehama County. It’s an apple and cherry orchard. It’s where we got our start. As we’ve grown, we’ve begun to source products from other local farms, as well. Lots of our produce comes from Orland and Chico. We try to keep it as fresh, in season and organic as possible. I think it’s always important to support not only local vendors, but people within the same industry. By working with local farms, we know the quality of the products we are using.
What experience did Doug bring to the table? Doug grew up in San Jose and had worked in farmers markets in the Bay Area for more than 10 years. When he came to my family’s farm, he was able to tell us about some varieties of fruits and vegetables that we didn’t know about. His knowledge base and his love for growing fruits and vegetables was a huge connection that we shared.
What prompted the decision to open Fresh Twisted Café? I grew up in Chico. We came back to the area so we could raise our kids around family. We wanted to put some roots down. Doug wanted to add something to the community. Many of my family members have worked at the restaurant over the years, so this is a business that is truly centered on family. We are driven to create something our family can always share.
How have you managed to keep freshness, fun and flavor at the forefront of each healthy dish you prepare? It comes down to being able to adapt to change, accepting feedback, and not taking it personally. We want our customers to be treated like family. We teach people that eating healthily doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Customers often worry that eating greens will feel like “eating grass.” We encourage them to “just try it.” They are always surprised by how sweet and delicious it is - without ice or sugar added.
What are your most popular menu items? Our organic beef burgers, our breakfast burritos (they are huge and served all day), and of course, The Hulk Smoothie! You can add avocado to it to make it creamier.
What’s your personal favorite? I love the carrot zucchini bread. I’m a mom and a student and I work behind the scene of the restaurant, so coffee is a must. I always go for either our spicy black bean patty in a wrap or a veggie sandwich.
What is the best thing about being able to run a family business? We don’t get a lot of family time outside of the cafe, but having the ability to give this example to our sons is important to us. They always have a space that is theirs.
Fresh Twisted Café
156 Eaton Road, Suite E (in PDQ Market, Deli and Gas Station Shopping Center) • (530) 809-2489
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 6:30 am to 7:30 pm;
Sunday, 7 am to 4:30 pm
Find them on Facebook and Instagram