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Capitola Fresh Choice Closes; New Restaurant Coming Soon

After 20 years in Capitola, Fresh Choice is a thing of the past at Brown Ranch Marketplace.

A staple of Capitola's Brown Ranch Marketplace is no more.

Fresh Choice, the healthy food buffet that opened with the shopping center in 1992, is closed for reorganization and will relaunch in the coming weeks with major changes to the interior.

Fresh Choice filed for bankruptcy in 2006, at which point Sandy Boyd, owner of Espresso Roma Corporation, bought a number of the existing Fresh Choice stores, including the one in Capitola. But, according to Brown Ranch Marketplace General Manager Bob Rivers, few of those stores survived the recession unscathed, leading Boyd to close the unsuccessful ones and re-brand "the good ones."

"Ours was one of the good ones and that's why he's keeping it," Rivers said.

The reopened restaurant will have an "a la carte style menu" rather than the buffet of Fresh Choice, Rivers said. It will also have a salad bar where patrons pay by the ounce, a beer and wine bar, a breakfast bar with omelets and updated seating.

According to Rivers, the restaurant will reopen under a new name (yet to be determined) and the remodel will occur "sometime in the next 60 days or so," after the launch of the new restaurant.

Without going into specifics, Rivers said the current closure is due to the legal process of reorganizing the business — changing the name, format, etc. 

"They're doing this reorganization right now, which is holding everything up," he said. "But, they're caught in a legal thing right now until they get the paperwork squared away. They'll get going pretty soon hopefully."

Are you sad to see Fresh Choice go after 20 years in Capitola? Excited for a new restaurant? Tell us in the comments! 

Bob Rivers October 29, 2012 at 09:19 PM
As soon as we have more details on when the restaurant will re-open, we will let everyone know. Thanks for your patronage over all these years. We look forward to having the new restaurant here soon. Thanks for shopping at Brown Ranch Marketplace, locally owned and operated!
Michael October 29, 2012 at 09:25 PM
ITS ABOUT TIME something new came to Capitola!! Now all we need for is something BIG to take over the old Marie Calendar's spot, like a great Steak House! And then, when that's done, modernize this thing called a Mall.....put on a second story and bring some life back to this place!
aptospirate October 29, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Not in this economy maybe if Romney gets elected it might happen. But if Obummer wins you can put in a second harvest food dispensarie we'll need it !! Well that is unless you work for a goverment agency.
Rachell S. October 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I'm sad for the loss of the "old" Fresh Choice, which used to be so good. I've eaten at Fresh Choice a few times in the last month or so and I felt that something was not right. Not many customers, hot food so-so (and that's being generous), messy dessert area and floors. I hope that they are able to revitalize this restaurant and I am looking forward to something new. I believe it is up to all of us in the community to visit these local restaurants at least once in a while to keep the economy alive. Some restaurants seem to flourish and stay busy while others fade away. In these difficult economic times what I'm trying to say is--spread the wealth. Many of the shops in Brown Ranch are worth our patronage but sometimes they are "out of the way" and its easier to pass them by. The quotes are my words, so I've been trying to go to at least one of the Brown Ranch shops whenever I go to the Capitola Mall. I park in one spot and walk to the other. Good exercise, saves gas, and I enjoy the friendly customer service in most of the Brown Ranch shops. Best wishes for the remodel of Fresh Choice!
David Housings October 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Fresh Choice was the last buffet-style restaurant that served something other than Asian food. The closest such restaurant would be Country Home in Salinas. I am not looking forward to the new restaurant, not the way it's described. I also noticed the degrading of Fresh Choice and wondered if they were having trouble. But, still, at its worse it was the best buffet around. I will certainly not have a salad bar where its weighed by the ounce. I would rather eat at, say, Carpo's, salad bar or any other where one price fits all salads.
Jacob Bourne (Editor) October 30, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Speaking of supporting Brown Ranch Marketplace businesses, I had lunch at Taqueria Tepeque today. It's one of my favorite Mexican places around but I never hear about anyone else going there. Any other Taqueria Tepeque fans out there?
Rachell S. November 03, 2012 at 05:15 AM
I walk by Taqueria Tepeque and see the people eating outside and the food looks very good. I've just never stopped. I think I'll give it a try next time I'm over there. I tend to get into a routine (i.e. rut) and I'm trying to break that habit. An additional comment re Fresh Choice and the comment about paying by the ounce for salad. I missed that part in the article, but I think I would like it since I'm not a huge salad eater and sometimes it felt silly to me to pay the one set price at Fresh Choice when I ate so little. It could end up costing more this way--I'll have to see. Thanks for pointing that out.
Alverda Orlando November 18, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I've had experience with salads by the ounce and I'll join you at Carpo's.
vinny nguye December 02, 2012 at 02:53 AM
We have a gift card with about $100 in it. What should we do?
Ted Mun December 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I have a gift card with about $25 in it. May I get a refund. Will the Fresh Choice be opened again in Colma, CA.??? Ted M.
David Ruiz January 01, 2013 at 06:51 PM
@ vinny nguye & Ted Mun Go to your local safeway and try to exchange the card for cash
John January 03, 2013 at 08:37 PM
my local safeway won't accept. safeway @ sunnyvale, CA
Kat January 11, 2013 at 05:39 AM
My family loved Fresh Choice and are sad to see it's gone. :(
AJ January 12, 2013 at 08:52 AM
My family also loved Fresh Choice...It is so unfair that we, the public had very little notice that Fresh Choice was going out of business. Had I known this, I would have used my $50.00 gift card and therefore I could have taken my family out to dinner. My daughter is a Lawyer and she specifically said that since the new owners are using the Fresh Choice contact info. on their new Web page and that since they bought the rights under the bankruptcy law, then the new owners have also "bought the rights" to all gift cards, therefore they will need to honor these gift cards otherwise either the follow will happen: 1. Everyone with gift cards can file class action law suits or 2. People like myself will boycott the new restaurant, California Fresh unless they honor our gift cards...I would hate to see this business "bite the dust!" due to arrogance, greed and materialism....So Please...honor your gift cards!
Bob Rivers January 30, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Fresh Choice to open again at Brown Ranch Marketplace! The new owners (Espresso Roma Corporation) should have the restaurant open in the next week or so. The new name will be “California Fresh”. The restaurant (at this time) will still be all-you-can-eat buffet style salad bar. They will have also have soups, pizza, and muffins, just like Fresh Choice. All of the menu items will be made fresh at the restaurant. We will pass along more details about the restaurant as soon as we have them. Thanks for supporting Brown Ranch Marketplace, locally owned and operated!
Michael Gaither February 08, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Thanks for the update on the gift cards AJ. I tried to use my gift card this week and was told they no longer will be accepting them. Bob, would you please let us gift card holders know what you are planning to do about this?
Marie March 21, 2013 at 08:49 PM
How can we cash out our gift cards?? Bob Rivers, please answer....

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