If you love the idea of visiting a farmers market and picking out fresh produce but lack the time (or maybe the talent) to turn that healthy food into a meal, then visit the Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop.

The gourmet organic salad eatery is like a neighborhood farm stand with a kick. Your fresh pickings will be custom-made into salads, wraps, sandwiches, or cooked-to-order entrees while you relax at a nearby farm style table or outside on a covered wooden front porch.
Named one of Los Angeles’ best new restaurants by Los Angeles Magazine in 2009 for their two locations in Beverly Hills and Century City, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop officially opened their third location in Costa Mesa last month.

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Owner Jonathan Rollo is thrilled to provide local diners with fresh, local and organic ingredients made to order with endless affordable options complementing a healthy lifestyle. “Costa Mesa is a natural fit for us,” said Rollo. “The community is conscious of what they eat.”

The new location has more than 4,000 square feet of space with both indoor and outdoor dining. The outdoor dining can be either on the front porch or under the shade of trees in a patio space perfect for private parties or a tranquil meal. The Orange County location features a wine bar with a limited selection of wines and draft beers. There is also a marketplace where you can pick up grab-to-go items like bottled dressings, olive oils and baked goods to accompany your take-out orders.

Executive Chef Kristi Ritchey, who is passionate about creating healthy food without sacrificing flavor, has collaborated with “Commander in Leaf” Rollo to serve up dishes that will fill you up and feed your soul. Guests can create their own salad or wrap combinations or choose from one 14 unique signature salads freshly prepared. A plethora of scrumptious toppings and freshly grilled proteins provide countless options for the perfect fast, healthy, “green” meal.

“I really love the balance of our menu which is preservative free, low in salt but hearty in flavor,” said Ritchey, who has been featured in USA Today and on The Biggest Loser where she shared her inspiring weight loss story. “We can accommodate many dietary restrictions including vegans and vegetarians.”

The staff at Greenleaf is trained to tailor orders for guests with special dietary needs. Ritchey understands not everyone wants a salad or wrap so Greenleaf Chophouse also serves up grilled pizzas and grilled steak sandwiches.

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Rollo and his Greenleaf crew have worked hard to create that modern farm stand feel from the open kitchen to using reclaimed and repurposed furniture, gardens, and herb boxes and raised vegetable beds. On the tables both inside and outside on the wooden porch fresh flowers are arranged along with glowing warn candles.

Rollo, a Pasadena native transformed the new Costa Mesa location to look like it has been part of the neighborhood for years. Rollo even brought in a few pieces of furniture from his childhood days for nostalgia including a desk where he remembers doing his homework.
Family is important to Rollo and he has created a staff at Greenleaf who treat every customer like family.

“Our menu allows parents to order very healthy meals not only for themselves but for their children,” said Rollo. “Parents can build a plate specially made for their kids.”

You can pre-order your takeout meal online.

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Michelle Mears-Gerst is a writer in Orange County. You can find her at @sunnynsocal or on Facebook.