Dan and Kirstie Feely are proving that fast food can be fresh, affordable and environmentally friendly.
The pair launched Feel Good Smoothie Bar and Cafe in Oneonta’s Clinton Plaza earlier this month, offering smoothies and smoothie bowls, customizable buddha bowls, acai bowls, salads, wraps and paninis, soups and more.
Though Kirstie said restaurant ownership was long a dream of hers, establishing Feel Good was also about making healthier options available and accessible.
“We just love food, especially healthy food, and we met working at a restaurant,” said Kirstie, a 28-year-old Downsville native. “Since I was little, I’ve wanted to do this. I’d see a McDonald’s and think, ‘I wish we had healthy fast food.’ When we met, we used to joke about opening a restaurant together … but we didn’t think we’d actually do it.”
“We’re from a food-service background, I’ve been a chef for 15 years and we ourselves are gluten free and vegan,” Dan, 32, said.
“That was a big part of it,” Kirstie continued, “but we’ve also been to other cities that have things like this, and we wanted there to be some options (locally). We saw a hole in Oneonta and just tried to jump in it. Our buddha bowls are gluten-free and our real fruit smoothies and smoothie bowls all use coconut milk, but we have flax milk available. We try to be really conscious of any dietary restrictions.”
Kirstie said Dan crafts homemade dressings for Feel Good’s salads and paninis, using avocado oil instead of processed oils.
As a result, Kirstie said, much of Feel Good’s menu is vegan and vegetarian. Early customer favorites, she said, include the Feel Good smoothie, featuring spinach, kale, hemp seeds, blueberries, banana, chocolate protein powder and coconut milk; the sweet potato chili; and no-bake cookies made with oats, peanut butter and local maple syrup. Their “No. 1 bestseller,” Kirstie said, is the acai bowls.
While the focus is on high-quality, often locally sourced or organic ingredients, Kirstie said, prices remain low to promote accessibility.
“Not only do we use real fruits and veggies, but we make it affordable,” she said, “(because) a lot of people get intimidated by healthy eating because of the price.”
All silverware, cups and food containers, Kirstie said, are compostable.
“They might cost a little more,” she said, “but to us it’s worth it because we love the environment.”
Diners, Kirstie said, are feeling the Feel Good fare.
“So far we’ve been having a lot of positive feedback,” she said. “People are excited and seem to like everything. I would love to see everybody, locals and (people of) all ages, but it’s been a lot of college kids and people in their early twenties.”
Kirstie said she and Dan plan to match their menu to seasonal availability, beginning with a gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie.
“It’s delicious and I make it every year for my own family,” she said. “We’ll be doing seasonal specials with things like squash in the fall and more fresh things in the summer … and we use local (ingredients) any time we can because we’re locals and we want to support the community.”
As Feel Good establishes itself, Kirstie said, she and Dan plan to expand hours and the restaurant’s reach.
“We’re just hoping that things go well and, long-term, we’re hoping to be open more,” she said. “And we are going to be offering delivery services, hopefully within the next year.”
Feel Good Smoothie Bar and Cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
For more information or to view a menu, visit feelgoodsmoothiebarandcafe.com, find “Feel Good Smoothie Bar and Cafe” on Facebook, follow @feelgoodsmoothie on Instagram or call 607-386-4079.