Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, Bristol Borough Mayor Joe Saxton and more were present at the ceremony
In May, The Times introduced its readers to Matthew and Michelle Howard, an ambitiously entrepreneurial husband-wife duo who were in the process of putting finishing touches on their very first store — Healthy Plate Meal Preps & Smoothie Bar. For years, they operated the business out of their Bensalem home, longing to one day expand to a larger location. On Thursday, Aug. 23, that dream became a reality when their eatery officially opened its 247 Mill St. doors to the Bristol and surrounding communities.
The grand opening festivities kicked off at 10 a.m., with family, friends, neighboring business owners and elected officials turning up for the celebration. On hand was Bristol Borough Mayor Joe Saxton, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, Raising the Bar president Bill Pezza, and a slew of loved ones and locals clamoring to congratulate the Howards.
“You’re bringing a well-established business to Bristol Borough,” praised Saxton, who went on to explain how Healthy Plate will add a unique twist to what’s already offered on Mill Street.
While the Mayor and other officials joined the Howards and their staff for a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Matthew’s mother Linda watched the scene unfold from the curb, an expression of pure joy etched on her face.
“My heart is bursting,” she told The Times. “This is their dream.”
Once the ribbon was cut with a pair of oversized scissors, everyone squeezed inside Healthy Plate to take a look at the menu and get their hands on a complimentary smoothie. Though quaint in size, the space is beautifully decorated, boasting bright, welcoming colors and ample seating for guests who wish to eat-in and utilize the free Wi-Fi.
For those who missed out on the final “summer body” push, Healthy Plate may be able to help locals slim down their waistlines…even if they’re hidden under bulky sweaters and jackets. According to Michelle, who serves as the head cook, all meals offered on the menu have a maximum of approximately 400 calories.
“It’s a healthy, balanced meal,” she said, stressing that taste is never sacrificed.
The menu changes on a weekly basis, and customers have the option to either eat-in at Healthy Plate, or place an advance order for pick up or delivery. This week’s items include a perfect blend of dinner, lunch and breakfast, including sesame chicken, steak fajita bowl, spinach tomato egg white bites, and cranberry protein muffins. The nutritional information, including calories, carbs, protein and fat, is transparently stated on the menu so people can see exactly what they’re putting into their bodies.
Each meal usually includes a customizable mixture of proteins, carbs and vegetables that customers can tailor to meet their dietary wants and needs. Everything is freshly prepared, contains no preservatives, and is pre-cooked. If someone is opting for takeout or delivery rather than eat-in, all they have to do is heat the food up or freeze it for later consumption.
“After working hard all day, you don’t want to worry about what you’re going to eat,” Matthew said. “Heat it and eat it.”
When it comes to preparing healthy, convenient meals, the Howards are practically professionals at this point. This passion for crafting nutritious yet tasty meals began in 2014 when Michelle began incorporating these new recipes into family dinners.
As a self-described “fitness buff,” Matthew was immediately on board, especially when he saw positive improvements to his body, stamina and mood. Family and friends quickly took notice, and Michelle soon found herself cooking her signature meals for Matthew’s gym buddies. Through simple word-of-mouth, the home-based business grew exponentially, earning the Howards a reputation not just in Bucks County, but in Philadelphia and Montgomery County as well.
After the couple took a tour of the Mill Street space in Bristol, a town Matthew felt particularly close to since his father was a local track star in the ’70s, the Howards knew they found the perfect spot to let Healthy Plate continue to flourish.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity,” Matthew said.
Now, the “coming soon” sign that hung in the storefront window is gone for good. Healthy Plate is here, and it’s here to stay. ••
Healthy Plate Meal Preps & Smoothie Bar is located at 247 Mill St. in Bristol. For more information, visit facebook.com/healthyplatemealpreps.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org