Given the healthy grab-and-go meals and all-natural smoothies for sale at the new concept Tasty As Fit, perhaps it’s only fitting that the business began organically.
“It started because there was a woman I knew, a working mom with four kids, who saw all the recipes and food I was posting on my Instagram,” said Tasty As Fit founder Emilie Blanchard. “She asked if I wouldn’t mind cooking a little extra and dropping some pre-made meals off on her doorstep. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’”
What began as one woman paying Blanchard a little money to help manage her family’s meal prep, soon blossomed into another family asking for help, and then another, and another, until she was busy cooking for 15 families at once, and all from her home kitchen — far exceeding the workload of a typical hobby.
“My husband, Boyd, said we had to figure this out, that we can’t keep doing this out of the house,” Blanchard said. “I realized it was what I love to do, so that’s when we went full force into making it a real business.”
That was back in 2017, and after finding a small retail spot in Columbia, South Carolina, Blanchard launched Tasty As Fit, a boutique family-run concept that offers gluten-free, plant-based smoothies and grab-and-go meals, all made fresh daily.
Now with a second location having just opened at 3017 Augusta Road, in the former Mug & Muffin Cafe spot across the street from The O5, Blanchard hopes Greenville will be the next market ready for a concept that mixes the fast-grab style of New York City storefronts with the fresh ingredients of the Carolinas.
With a wide range of smoothie options, as well as meals like Thai fried rice, “chicken” salad made with chickpeas instead of chicken, lentil soup, kale caesar salad, mushroom and walnut Bolognese and — for sweet-lovers — half-baked cookie dough brownies and Snickers bites, the menu strives to offer healthy meals that don’t compromise on flavor.
Having spent spent five years in New York City working in broadcast journalism and fitness, Blanchard said she saw the potential for catering to the growing population of Greenville residents who have adjusted their diets to one that is primarily plant-based — something she herself did years ago.
“Honestly if I hadn’t spent five years in New York I probably wouldn’t have come up with this concept,” she said. “When you decide to go plant-based, it was a lot easier up there to find spots to grab something on the go: a smoothie, a juice, a quick pre-made meal. I realized so many people here are looking for the exact same kind of thing.”
It didn’t hurt that she had family in South Carolina. As it happens, both Tasty As Fit locations are entirely family-run. Blanchard’s sister, Thea Tollison, played a major role in the opening of the original Columbia location. Thea Tollison now runs the kitchen in the Greenville spot, having just come off a seven-month stint working on the COVID-19 ward at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Now she runs the kitchen like a nurse — so organized, so determined,” Blanchard said.
Her uncle, Shane Taylor, launched the Greenville location after spending a year learning every detail of the original spot.
“The great thing about it is we wanted that consistency between the two stores,” Taylor said. “We’re blessed that Emilie and Thea have the same taste buds, so everything will taste the same here as it does in Columbia. It’s a real family business.”
Alongside Taylor is his wife, Blanchard’s aunt, Stefi Taylor, who works with him in the business.
As for the minimal, clean decor of the business, that was all designed by Blanchard’s mother, Angel Tollison.
“So it’s a real family affair all the way,” Blanchard said. “All of our teams are incredibly close, and we just really love and respect each other.”
She added, “Sometimes they get annoyed with me, though. Depends on the day. But that’s just family.”
Tasty As Fit, at 3017 Augusta Rd, is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.