Fast-casual, health-focused Crisp & Green Restaurant is coming to St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — A Minnesota-based fast-casual restaurant announced plans Thursday to open a location in the St. Cloud area.

Crisp & Green, a restaurant serving salads, cereal bowls and smoothies that opened its first location in Wayzata in 2016, is considering locations in St. Cloud in anticipation of a fall opening, the CEO said. Steele Smiley.

“It’s a city we want to be in quickly,” Smiley said.

The St. Cloud location will be operated by a franchisee, who has yet to be announced but is a member of the community, Smiley said.

Crisp & Green is expanding in Minnesota with the goal of making healthy food brands more accessible to small towns. For most small towns, healthy, fast-casual choices are slim, Smiley said.

“People want the next release, and they don’t want to wait 10 years,” he said.

Smiley said the menu will also expand over time, adding acai bowls and healthy treats. In addition, Crisp & Green offers free fitness classes on its premises. Smiley has two decades of experience in the fitness world, including starting Steele Fitness and eventually merging with Snap Fitness, where Smiley served as a director for several years. Partnering with local fitness experts to offer these free classes is one way Crisp & Green is trying to give back to the community.

Steele Smiley, Founder of Crisp & Green

“We don’t just serve food,” Smiley said. “We help introduce people to a healthy lifestyle.”

Within the restaurant’s first 60 days, the company will have a “sharp geek” to help people decide what to order and to eliminate any sort of intimidation factor in healthy eating, Smiley said.

“We’re definitely building a concept for everyone,” he said.

In addition to St. Cloud, by 2024 Crisp & Green locations are expected to open in Mankato, Prior Lake/Savage, Lino Lakes, Duluth, Brainerd, White Bear Lake, Rogers, Roseville and St. Louis Park. With these additions, Crisp & Green will have 31 locations in Minnesota.

The Crisp & Green flagship store opened in 2016 in Wayzata.

Smiley is the founder and CEO of Steele Brands, a brand development company that also includes fast casual dining brands Stalk & Spade and Paco & Lime. He said it’s “very likely” his other brands will follow Crisp & Green to St. Cloud.

“Plant-based food – we’re in the infancy of this brand,” he said.

Smiley launched each of his three ventures with Wayzata as his testing ground.

“I don’t have an ounce of food in my house,” Smiley said. “I eat exclusively at my restaurants every day.”

Crisp & Green also has locations in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Sarah Kocher is the economics reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-255-8799 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.

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