Start Fresh, which opened last fall, is first and foremost a gluten-free establishment. However, a lot of what they sell is vegan, and they carry as many sustainable, GMO-free, and locally-made products as they can. I also feel like it’s important to note that I’ve never seen a larger selection of gluten-free alcohol anywhere.
The store is basically split into two areas: one is a grocery store and includes tons of choices for vegans, such as seven different types of vegetable bouillon cubes and three types of egg-replacer. The other area features bakery and deli cases, and a beverage bar where you can order freshly-made juices, smoothies, or coffee. You can get vegan options for any of the beverages, and I particularly like the juice bar.
The bakery and deli cases are more hit-or-miss. Months ago, I saw some deli items that had been made with a non-vegan almond cheese (containing the dairy derivative casein) advertised as vegan. But I talked to an employee about casein, and I can’t be the only one who did, because I haven’t seen that mistake since. They have also started listing ingredients by each deli and bakery item. I do like their baked goods when vegan ones are available, but that’s not every day.
On my most recent visit, nothing available in the bakery was vegan, but an employee walked me over to a box of vegan cookies that she recommended. The brand was Ginny Bakes, and they were like Nilla Wafers with a little coconut mixed in. It was about $5 for a box of 10, but absolutely worth it. They were delicious, and you don’t need a chemistry degree to understand the list of ingredients.
They sell Full Tilt ice cream, and carry two vegan flavors at the moment (Mayan Chocolate and Skydottir Cookie Dough! Trust me, they merit the exclamation point). They recently posted on their Facebook page that there will be an additional Start Fresh/Full Tilt announcement coming soon, and I’ll pass along those details as soon as I learn them.
Start Fresh has plenty of seating by the big street-side windows, art on the walls, and lots of light. It’s bright, clean, and pleasant in here—a great place to sit and enjoy some lunch.
Prices are typically higher here than at other grocery stores, including PCC and Whole Foods. I don’t mind paying a premium when it comes to supporting a local business or purchasing specialty items, but some items are priced so high that I am a little surprised that they sell any.
In addition to food, they have nice range of home and health care products that don’t use animal ingredients or conduct animal testing. While I buy those online for the most part, it’s nice to have the option to pick something up right when you need it. They also regularly feature tastings and lectures, and you can order custom deli items. I haven’t done that yet, but plan to give it a try soon. Start Fresh is definitely a great addition to downtown Burien.
816 SW 152nd St
Burien, WA 98166
Open daily from 7 AM-7 PM