Tasty Tuesday: Mad Fresh
After graduating from WVU, Jerry Kalaparambath worked in consulting and real estate, but knew his real dream was to start his own business.
In 2014 when he bought a small eatery, the High Street Canteen, with his brother.
"I felt as if I was always an entrepreneur. I had this itch that I needed to take care of and somehow, life brought me back to Morgantown," he said.
Over the years, Jerry realized that downtown was in need of fresh, fast, health food.
"I just felt as if there were no options on a major college campus, which made no sense," said Jerry.
A Philadelphia native, Jerry drew inspiration from fast-casual health chains in the city and decided to do something similar. So, in February, he opened Mad Fresh, a salad restaurant, in a small building at 218 Prospect Street.
"Seeing the reaction when people come in here they're just like 'Wow, we've needed this, I can't wait, I'm going to be here everyday,' and they have been here everyday," Jerry said.
"Every time I come in here, the food is always mad fresh, so it's a perfect name," said frequent customer Eric Ketz.
With standing room only, customers file through the line and can pick a signature salad from the menu, or build their own.
Compared to other fast casual salad and health food chains, the prices at Mad Fresh are more affordable.
"Here it's reasonable and there are good options," said Nijia Walls.
Their salads are made with as many organic, locally sourced ingredients as possible and they make several homemade dressings.
"It's really good. They have so many different salad dressings and it just tastes really fresh," said Carly Diener, who has been coming to the restaurant several times a week since they opened.
Customers say the restaurant is a refreshing, long-overdue addition to the downtown food scene.
"Something that's not heavy, something that I can eat before I go to the gym," said Melissa Efe.
"It's a great concept and you feel better about yourself after eating this," said Ketz.
At Mad Fresh, their philosophy is simple:
"Just having a quality product, quality vegetables, and letting them [customers] know they can come here, they can get that, and they can feel good about what they're eating," said Head Chef Javier Fuentes.