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Not a lot of business owners can boast that the people wanted them to open so badly that they made it happen by themselves. But Corpus Christi native, Ricci Neer, can definitely give her baby, Fresh! Café, that distinction. What started as a Facebook group of roughly 20 people grew into a community willing to give their time and resources to revive a place that was once close to their hearts.
When the Tango Tea Room closed down last June, Neer was going around the city, teaching classes about clean eating and “high vibration” food. A friend of hers advised her to set a permanent location for what she did; somewhere people could easily find her – an anchor spot.
“Two weeks after the place closed, I woke up one morning and thought ‘Oh my goodness, the Tango’s the anchor spot,’” she said.
From there, she started an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for her opening. Neer created a Facebook group to get some help from the people who loved the place, too. In three and a half weeks, that group went from 20 members to over 300. About 50 people showed up to the Tea Room to help her revitalize the area with positive energy, good vibes, and amazing food.
“It was just a really beautiful experience,” Neer recalled.
Being a crowd-funded restaurant is not the only thing that sets Fresh! apart. With Neer’s passion for clean eating, she created a menu that is organic, healthy, and completely fresh. They source all ingredients locally, like their grass-fed beef, which they get from a local ranch. Everything is made to order, no microwaves or holding tables. This restaurant makes sure that whatever you order, it’s at its freshest and best quality.
Their Egg, Smoked Gouda, and Porkloin sammie looked amazing from the get go. It’s made with homemade organic bread stuffed with fresh, organic spinach and mushrooms, and it came with a side of citrus infused tomatoes, which they grow on their own. The stigma that organic dishes lack the delicious flavor of their contemporaries flies out the window with one bite.
The good stuff doesn’t stop there. Fresh! also has a fine selection of teas from all over the world. In their “experience” station, you can sniff and experience their teas before you decide which one to order. They can customize it for you with their wide range of sweeteners and milks, and you can enjoy it in their Corpus Christi Tea Room.
“It’s like walking into your living room!” people would tell Neer. They weren’t wrong. Fresh! is a place designed to give its customers a place to relax, chat, and eat good and clean. In a world of fast food and to-gos, everyone needs a place to slow down.
UPDATE! (As of October 17th, 2016)
Starting as a community project at the edge of the Marina Arts District downtown Corpus Christi, Fresh! Delivery began in the home of the former Yin-Yang Fandango / Tango Tea Room. As of October 17th, Fresh Cafe no longer occupies the space at 505 S. Water St. and they are keeping the dream alive as Peony's Place at:
517 Everhart Rd.
Corpus Christi, Texas