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Herban Quality Eats: Healthful food - and fast

Herban (say it "urban") specializes in healthful, build-your-own platters.

It's prime time for Wharton grads Amir Fardshisheh and Kalefe Wright, who open Herban Quality Eats on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 3601 Market St. (267-281-8920), on the 36th Street side.

Herban (say it "urban") follows the Chipotle-style fast-casual model of cafeteria-line, build-your-own platters.

Herban focuses on clean eating: fresh vegetables; lean, responsibly sourced proteins; unrefined carbs. There's no freezer or deep fryer. Virgin coconut oil replaces butter. Lots of fresh herbs (say it "HERBS") are used.

You choose a base, add a protein and sauce, and order two sides to complete a meal for $8 to $12. Chef Chris Paul, a veteran of Parc and Chifa, refined their menu ideas. (Menu is here.)

After getting the idea to go into business, Fardshisheh worked at a Chipotle, while Wright worked at a Shake Shack. They started slowly, testing their ideas in the field. A year ago, working out of the leased kitchen at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises at 48th and Spruce Streets, they began dinner delivery service in University City and part of Center City.

Ed Eimer of Eimer Design did the bright, utilitarian interior, brightened up by a few plants.

The first 100 lunch customers at its 11:30 a.m. opening on Dec. 15 will get free food. Initial hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Expanded hours will start after New Year's.