On a Monday morning, Susan Bergeron spots a regular coming through the front door of Eat Well Kitchen in Marblehead and immediately starts preparing the smoothie she knows her customer will be asking for. The ingredients she blends together—kale, mango, banana, coconut water—are all simple and fresh, like everything else that goes into Bergeron’s carefully considered menu. “This is how I eat, so I want to reach out to other people to show them it’s easy to eat healthy,” Bergeron says.
Bergeron opened the small downtown eatery in June 2015. For two years prior, Bergeron had run a home cooking business, going into clients’ kitchens and preparing a supply of healthy meals. Just as demand for her services was growing, she noticed a small storefront available for rent on Atlantic Avenue. The space had previously housed a bakery and already had a commercial kitchen. Bergeron decided to take a shot at opening a retail shop.
The result is a small but airy establishment with clean white walls and a simple décor. Customers can perch on one of the green stools lined up along the front window, but most of the business is take-out. In the kitchen, trays of newly roasted tomatoes and red peppers cool, fresh cauliflower and Brussels sprouts peer from the fridge, and the warm, yeasty aroma of toasting bread wafts through the air.
The menu, displayed on a sprawling chalkboard, embodies Bergeron’s cooking—and eating—philosophy. The selection includes sandwiches, salads, soups, and baked goods. Fresh vegetables and lean proteins feature heavily; baked treats such as turtle brownies, chocolate pumpkin bread, and peanut butter cookies are gluten-free. Fruit-packed smoothies and freshly pressed juices are among the most popular offerings. The kids’ menu, labeled Foodies in Training, offers up grilled cheese and peanut or almond butter sandwiches.
Bergeron points to the Skinny Tuna as a quintessential example of her culinary style. Available as a sandwich, wrap, or salad, it includes high-grade tuna and diced vegetables. Instead of a traditional dressing of mayonnaise, it is topped with a lemon vinaigrette. It is one of the shop’s top sellers.
She works with local vendors whenever possible. Her fair trade, organic coffee comes from the Equal Exchange cooperative in West Bridgewater. Bergeron sources free-range turkey from Misty Knolls Farms in Vermont, roasting breast meat instead of using deli slices. Snack options include Q’s Nuts, made in Somerville. In the summer, she buys as many vegetables as she can from area farmers.
The food selections evolved as Bergeron saw what customers responded to. Today, she keeps her popular chicken vegetable soup on the menu all winter long, and she recently concocted a special smoothie of berries, bananas, mango, and pineapple after she noticed the modifications customers were making to the standard offerings.
This process of trial and error seems to have yielded success; the shop has become a go-to spot for hungry Marblehead residents.
Regulars Jane and Rick Filosa have made Eat Well Kitchen a part of their morning routine. Jane appreciates the green juices and smoothies. Rick likes the fact that the food is fresh and quick.
As the couple departed, coffee in hand, they bid farewell to Bergeron and promised to return in a few hours for lunch. The key to Eat Well Kitchen’s success, Bergeron theorizes, is her dedication to her vision. “I make healthy food and I add simple sauce to it, and that’s it,” she says. “It’s magic.”
Eat Well Kitchen
40 Atlantic Ave. Marblehead