February 01, 2013 by Jared.Ely
Whenever a restaurant strives to be more than a just a business, it really shines through. The food can taste great, the staff can be polite, and the place can comfort with carefully arranged decor, but when there’s a purpose behind the service, it adds a whole new dimension to the eating experience. It’s that special, embraced purpose that really makes Pure Fare feel like more than just another hole-in-the-wall eatery.
Located at 21st and Sansom streets, Pure Fare is a small, nondescript cafe that specializes in healthy, organic foods. Upon entering, this focus on health-conscious food was immediately clear. Above the extensive wood paneling, both sides of the restaurant display chalkboard menus that tout juices, smoothies and healthy snacks such as hummus and yogurt.
What truly got to me, however, was the enthusiasm of the staff. When it was obviously clear to my server that I hadn’t been there before (apparently their regulars don’t take more than two seconds to decide), she cheerfully described to me how Pure Fare is an all-organic food store meant to encourage healthy eating and becoming aware of what is really in your food. It’s commendable when the servers have an intimate knowledge of the food they serve, but it was pretty impressive when the waitress gave me a rundown of the foods they served along with her opinion and the ingredients used.
I’ll admit that the spread isn’t that extraordinary, but it was still refreshing to know that the food was made onsite. After deciding between the different frittatas and soups, I finally came to choose the French Toast Frittata ($4.50) and the Pumpkin Coconut Soup ($4.25) as my brunch.
While the server was preparing the food, I went to the juice-and-smoothie counter to try one of their natural juices. I was pleased that the server noticed I was having difficulty choosing a juice and offered helpful suggestions. Honestly, there’s no way anyone should be able to decide quickly on which juice to choose. When the menu includes such creations as Fennel Melon Apple and Pineapple Beet Lime juice, it’s ridiculous to try to imagine how the juice might taste. I went with the simple Green Detoxifier, a medley of cucumber, kale and apple with a squeeze of lemon.
Based on appearance, it wasn’t hard to decide on what to try first. I don’t mean to downplay the quality, but the soup was an orange goop, the juice was a dark-green slush, and the frittata was a welcoming slice of browned French toast clearly boasting strawberries and other berries. Pushing aside the less visibly appetizing dishes, I carved out a sizable chunk of the frittata. Sadly, what I got was less than I expected. Although it was most certainly not bad, the frittata was a bit dry and lacked the flavor I had hoped for. The strawberries had very little sweetness and substance, the French toast was thick but more floury than sweet or buttery, and the berries (what I assume were small grapes or cranberries) could not overpower the general dullness of the frittata even though they packed a small, sweet punch.
Incredibly, the juice and soup made up for the bland frittata. The Green Detoxifier was not as sweet as most juices, but the cooling effect of the cucumber mixed with the earthy flavor of the kale was especially refreshing. Having grown up with sweet orange and pineapple juices, it was a pleasant surprise to find that I enjoyed the Green Detoxifier. However, the pumpkin coconut soup was what really stole the show. Not too thick but exceptionally creamy, the soup contained a myriad of flavors including the warming and slightly pungent pumpkin to the ever so sweet and tangy coconut. If I ever go to Pure Fare again, I would order this soup in a heartbeat.
Even though you’ll end up paying a slight premium for the fresh ingredients, Pure Fare offers quality and heartfelt service to make up for it. It’s sad that some dishes, like the frittatas, can’t really survive the shelf life, and a short microwave session won’t cure that. Overall, though, the food is great, and it’s a relief to know that what you’re eating is made with your health in mind. If you’re looking to turn a new leaf in diet or just need a quiet, refreshing place to hang out, don’t hesitate to take a trip to Pure Fare.