PRET A MANGER and the like

Corporations often get a bad rap, especially during this wildly crazy political season, but I think there are a lot of good ones. I’m retiring next month from a very good one, Crate and Barrel. More importantly, I recently discovered one that makes my mind and tummy shout: yes!

I’m always looking for places where I can find good vegan or vegetarian options. I’ll ask you in advance: if you know of any in your neighborhood, let me know, please!

To balance my healthy appetite, I exercise a lot. On Friday mornings I swim at the Boston Sports Clubs. For months I walked by the establishment next door whose French name always caught my eye: PRET A MANGER. I am a sucker for all things French. And a linguist, of sorts. My mind’s eye automatically put in the accent circumflex over the ê and an accent grave over the à. But that’s just me. What matters is that it means, as you probably know, ready to eat. And in this case, the food is also great.

So finally one day I couldn’t resist. The familiar smell of baked goods hit me as soon as I opened the door. Croissants, of course. But, not eating dairy these days, what else did they have? Could I even eat there? And the answer was resoundingly, yes. Phew.


Straight ahead at the counter were their croissants, bagels, muffins. In the corner I noticed a fresh fruit stand and to the right were the shelves of … this was the make-it-or-break-it moment … prepared food items. To my delight, I immediately noticed they had freshly prepared 5-grain and steel-cut oatmeal, coconut-based yogurt, and cups of fresh fruit (like a three-inch mixture of oranges, mango and kiwi that looked like it had just been sliced, topped with pomegranate seeds. Yum). PRET, as it is affectionally known, does not purport to be vegan. It’s pricey but as I looked at the “wall art,” I found a philosophy I was willing to pay for.


This is as close to a restaurant as any quick, pick-up-something-healthy place can be. Plus it’s fun, modern, vibrant. This is not a fast-foods venue that brings in food from who knows where that has been frozen, stored and shipped “fresh” each week. Each location has its own kitchen or one near by. They slice and dice vegetables all day long. There are no expiration dates on the sandwiches because there is no need of one.

I know I sound like a sales rep but these things mean a lot. Fresh, organic, baked on the premise, cooked, sliced, prepared by hand are all important.

The only person looking out for my health is me. Yes, corporations are there to make money but I happen to like the fact that PRET A MANGER is riding the “it’s good for you” wave. The latest food slogan seems to be “Clean and Green” and PRET is all that. It makes it easier for those of us who are hungry and on the go (without either food at home or the inclination to cook) and who want a healthy option. We know other temptations are out there. I could fill the rest of this page with those choices.

No one is perfect and I personally don’t think we should be. Those occasional food treats are the spice of life. It’s the day-to-day we should pay attention to, making as many good choices as we can.

I’m excited that PRET A MANGER is successful. I was in New York City recently and saw a couple of them there. That means the demand is out there for tasty, fresh food. And if the demand is there, good corporations will provide it.

What’s in your neighborhood?? I’ve told you about one of mine, what’s near you?? Restaurant, lunch place, grocery store, bakery? Where would you go for healthy, delectable options?

Send me, in the comment section, at least one place that you know. We all eat out. This way we can share. Thanks and bon appétit!





  1. Looks like a good place to try next time we are in Beantown. No good vegan-friendly restaurants to recommend in LA for now, but I’ll keep looking. Happy eating.


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