Thursday, February 01, 2007

One Fresh Happy People Stir Fry

OneFresh is a complete staple for the team out here. In my mind, it's about the most innovative place in Tallahassee, and maybe the best managed. There are a couple in town - the one we generally frequent is on Monroe at Tharpe, not far from Downtown.

OneFresh does a couple of things well, but the hands down best is their stir fry. The process goes something like this - you start with a laminated menu, and use a dry erase marker to select brown or white rice, a bunch of ingredients (veggies, chicken, tofu, etc), a sauce or two, and a little garlic or scallions or cilantro for on top. Its something like 18,000 choices if I'm doing my math right. Then these guys in back with gigantic woks over huge gas burners go to town and come up with your stir fry. Takes about 5 minutes costs about 6 bucks.

It stays crowded and seems to be doing well. As an added perk, there's a mailing list which puts you in line for some of the most bizarre, entertaining stream-of-conciousness emails I've seen from the owner of the place, Bill Poole, and occasionally gets you a free drink or some extra veggies.

So the stir fry rocks, but the trick of OneFresh is its people. They're really happy and really friendly and extremely competent. They're also there a while - the same people are working there as when I first went, a year ago. My hotel has switched staffs twice in that time, and they've got it a heck of a lot is easier. Its as if the OneFresh guys really like being there. Despite being the place being tasty and trendy and well decorated, these are folks who are slogging through the lunch rush, cooking stirfry over gazillion degree burners in a noisy kitchen and making change. My hunch: they're happy because they like each other. I don't know who sets that tone - if its just a matter of hiring, if its the line managers, or the owner. I don't know what you do to a business to make it lovable, what you do for a team to get it to stick, But somehow that's what someone did here. Lovable place creates lovable people creates lovable food. Which is something Bill might say in his weekly ramble.

Despite tornado watches and drenching downpour, Continental claims my flight is on time. So off to the airport to watch the delays stack up there.

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