Clean Eatz to open soon
The Gartrells and their children, Zach and Emily, are opening Clean Eatz, a healthy café, at 155 West End Ave., in mid-June.
“Clean Eatz is not a diet; it’s a healthy lifestyle, where we make everything handmade, and most of our stuff is under 500 calories,” Neal Gartrell said.
“A big portion of the business is the meal prep,” Maggie Gartrell said. Currently working full time with Travelers Insurance, she said she understands that oftentimes customers don’t have time to make meals. “With a busy lifestyle, it’s hard to be healthy,” she said. “It seems like people are busy more than ever.”
The restaurant, a dine-in café, offers two menus, he said. One is a café menu, which includes wraps, sandwiches and build-a-bowls.
“You can pick your protein, a carb and build your own vegetable protein, pasta bowl,” Neal Gartrell said.
However, Clean Eatz also has a meal prep menu. “How that works is I put out a new menu every Thursday,” he said. “There are five items on the menu. Every week it will be something new. With those five items, our customers will go online and they will have from Thursday to midnight Sunday to order their meals.”
The café will be closed on Sundays because that is when they prepare all the meals fresh and handmade, Neal Gartrell said. “Then Monday, you pick up your meals for the week.
“So most people are ordering anything from seven to 25 meals for their family,” he said. “It’s in an individual container and when you are ready to eat, you just put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and it’s ready to go, a fresh, hot meal.”
The Gartrells bought a Clean Eatz franchise the beginning of this year.
“We decided this is our lifestyle, healthy eating, healthy living,” Neal Gartrell said.
“This is going to be a family restaurant, a café,” he added. Neal and Maggie’s children, Zach, 23, will be moving from Wilmington, N.C., to help run the café, and Emily, a Bearden High School sophomore, also will be working in the restaurant as well.
The Gartrells, previously from Ohio, said they fell in love with East Tennessee while boating in the area during vacations.
“We would take trips down here and we always knew this is where we wanted to retire,” she said.
Then, a course of events last year allowed the family to make their move to East Tennessee, Maggie Gartrell added.
Neal, who had been in the restaurant business for 20 years, was managing partner for Carrabbas Italian Grill for 14 years.
“[Zach] actually found the franchise,” Maggie Gartrell said.
“They opened the first [Clean Eatz] in Wilmington,” Emily Gartrell said.
“Zach is the one who fell in love with it because he competes in the fitness industry, so he got to know the owners, Don and Yvonne, and just kept talking about it,” Maggie Gartrell said. So, the Gartrells decided to look into the franchise.
“My wife and I have been looking to do something on our own for years,” Neal Gartrell said. “We just couldn’t find the right niche, the right thing, to just fit us. Then we found Clean Eatz through Zach.
“We did our due diligence and did our research and found out this was exactly what we’re about — good living, good family, giving back to the community, healthy living, a healthy lifestyle.”
The café will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and closed Sunday.
“We always sacrificed time in our marriage because his schedule and my schedule were different,” Maggie Gartrell said. “So, we felt being closed on Sundays was important to us.”
She added eventually operating Clean Eatz would give the Gartrells time to enjoy life, too.
For more information about Clean Eatz, visit the café’s Facebook page at facebook.com/cleaneatzknoxville.