Photo: DJ Simmons/Hearst Connecticut Media
WESTPORT — Organic Krush has opened its first Connecticut location in town, and the business looks to deliver an assortment of healthy and organic dishes to the community.
Michelle Walrath and Fran Paniccia, co-owners of Organic Krush, first started the business six years ago after the two had trouble finding a healthy eatery while traveling on the road with their kids.
“Fran and I have been friends for 18 years and we met when our kids were little in their nursery school,” Walrath said. “We’ve always shared in common our love for healthy food.”
Walrath said both families were so used to cooking healthy options for their families, but on the road selections were slim. She said Paniccia and her both started wondering how healthy eateries didn’t exist across the country and joked they should start one.
“And then our joke turned into a reality,” Walrath said.
Since then, they have opened several locations across Long Island, the Hamptons and Virginia, with the latest being located at 374 Post Road East in Westport. The new business held a ribbon cutting on Nov. 2 to commemorate its opening.
Walrath said she grew up in a family that was focused on alternative and healthy living, and Paniccia similarly grew up in a household focused on home-cooking.
“She raised her kids with that belief that fueling them with a healthy food was a part of their well-being and success everyday,” Walrath said.
The health-conscious menu offers everything from smoothies, to healthy juices and acai bowls. Walrath said the business offers 100 percent organic food and customization to make eating healthy fun and interactive.
“Whether it’s the grass-fed beef, to the organic chicken, to the organic free-range eggs, we get the highest quality of the food we have on our menu,” Walrath said. “We can offer that, and then as a customer you can choose how you want to piece that meal together.”
The new space is 3,000 square feet, seats up to 75 customers indoor with a patio for additional outdoor dining.
While COVID-19 has impacted the restaurant industry, Walrath said their experience managing other locations throughout the pandemic has helped them open the new business. All of their locations have remained open while also helping to serve hospitals, domestic violence shelters and other community organizations.
“We have built a little bit of confidence understanding how restaurants needed to learn how to operate,” Walrath said. “We never shut our doors for a single day at our other six locations.”
The business also follows sustainable practices.
Walrath said she and Paniccia are excited to bring what they have to offer to a town that shares similar passions for healthy living, and sensitivity to the environment.
“People in Westport care about the environment, as do we,” she said.