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Long Beach adds a third new restaurant during pandemic

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A third restaurant has just opened in Long Beach during the coronavirus, nudging the city a bit closer to its normal life of bumper-to-bumper cars and crowded streets, the way things were before the virus strangled many businesses and sent the unemployment rate skyward.

The latest edition to the Long Beach eatery menu is a bit unusual for this city. It is a restaurant that totally focuses on healthy foods, called Fit Foodie Express, on West Beech Street.

Long Beach is bloated with restaurants that serve continental, Italian, Chinese, Irish and seafood, of course. But totally naturally healthy food, while fitting in with these days of emphasis on health, is a little different for the city of lots of delis and fast-food spots. .

Fit Food Express, which opened last weekend, is the brainchild of Kelly Escaravage, 38, a former interior designer who had an interest in healthy natural foods since her grandfather, Vince Scardina, cooked up Italian meals over a stove in his Brooklyn apartment. The 3-year-old Kelly watched in awe.

When she got married a few months ago to Greg Tepper, a financier, her dreams of owning a restaurant came alive. She began studying nutrition online at Cornell. The next step, the hardest for most, was how to finance a business. Eccaravage had been preparing grand-and-go meals, but a brick-and-mortar store was a huge step.

That’s where Tepper stepped in. He persuaded several banks to provide him credit cards - one for $25,000 and the other or $22,500.

“I got these before the pandemic,” said Tepper, 37. He added that a good credit rating helped.

Escaravage found spot on the West End, hired six people, and began to cook up such dishes as Mex Fajita Power Bowls, which consist of rice, cauliflower or greens, peppers, corn, avocado, a sprinkle of pepper cheese and her own fresh house salsa.

There are also Bangkok Bowls and the Long Beach salad.

Ian Danby, chairman of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, said the opening of new restaurants in a pandemic should not be surprising. “It takes months and months of planning to open a restaurant,” Danby said. “The longer you delay your opening, the longer you don’t get your money back.” He said he felt Fit Foodie Express was very much in step with the health fads of the times.

The other two restaurants that recently opened are The Shore House Bar & Grill and Boardwalk Cheesesteaks.