You know you’re a regular when the cashier behind the counter knows your husband’s name. That’s how often my family dines at ModMarket, a four-month-old, fast-casual restaurant that makes eating healthy both achievable and enjoyable. It’s not unusual to see us there twice a week. Given the demands of my job—to monitor the local restaurant scene and try every single place that opens, changes its menu, or replaces its chef—it’s highly unusual for me to frequent a spot more than once in a matter of months. But ModMarket is different, and it has me hooked.

I first visited the eatery when it launched in Boulder in August 2009, but I became a regular in January when Rob McColgan and Anthony Pigliacampo opened a second location on Colorado Boulevard. The draw: A straightforward menu of salads, sandwiches, soups, and pizzas that conveys a healthy freshness not normally seen outside of high-end grocery stores. Take the salads: The pristine ingredients are on display Chipotle-style just waiting to become a well-dressed tangle of a meal. My staple is the Mongolian—a crunchy mix of greens, red cabbage, soy nuts, scallions, edamame, and wontons tossed in a dressing with hints of orange, mint, and chile. The small ($5) is huge; the large ($6.50) is gargantuan.

Likewise, the sandwiches, stacked on thick slices of Udi’s ciabatta, can easily feed two. It’s a rare visit that my family doesn’t order the pesto chicken sandwich (stuffed with tender hunks of free-range, herb-roasted chicken, provolone, and red-basil pesto), which gets nice and toasty in the wood-fired oven. The pizzas, built on an ingenious crust made from six whole grains, also emerge from that oven. My four-year-old has no idea that her child-size pie ($4.50) is a healthy option. Nor does she realize that the hearty curry-split pea soup that she laps up by the spoonful is both gluten-free and vegan.

Best of all, ModMarket is built on the premise of transparency—just check your receipt; it catalogs the nutritional information for the meal you ordered. This underscores what McColgan and Pigliacampo set out to do: create an affordable, accessible eatery that’s healthy and sustainable (seasonal ingredients are local when possible). These days, lots of spots make this claim, but ModMarket delivers. “Eat well to be well,” says Pigliacampo. ModMarket makes that easy. 1000 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-757-1772,

This article was originally published in 5280 May 2011.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.