Donnie Ferneau is Making Some 'Good,' Healthy Food
There's a new healthy food option for the busy folks of central Arkansas, and we think you may have heard of the owner.
Good Food by Ferneau is the brainchild of Donnie Ferneau, the former owner and chef at Ferneau in Hillcrest which closed in 2011. His goal for his new catering and takeout business is for busy people who would still like to eat healthy.
The menu changes frequently, usually every day or every other day, and includes, on average, a few entrees for lunch and dinner, in addition to a salad and a snack or two. Previous menu items have included chicken thighs, shrimp and cauliflower grits, fresh strawberry and pineapple fruit salad and pork carnitas. And he's using as much local food as possible.
The idea is for healthy foodies to be able to come by Ferneau's current spot at Pulaski Presbyterian Church in Hillcrest, get the food to go and eat for lunch, or later at home for dinner.
"For those with busy lifestyles, after going to the gym or being at work, you don't really want to go out to eat," Ferneau says. "There aren't that many — only a small handful — of healthy food options in Little Rock."
Ferneau says his meals will help his customers stay on clean, healthy food paths during the week. The idea for the healthy food option is something he's always wanted to offer.
"I started being active some time ago, and the one thing I noticed is it's hard to make gains," Ferneau says. "70 percent of the gains you make in the gym are done in the kitchen. If you're working out and not eating right, you're not going to see the results you want."
After leaving the restaurant scene, Ferneau took about a year and a half to study food and dieting. Now, he's ready to share what he's learned with central Arkansas. So far, business has been "overwhelming," Ferneau says.
"I didn't realize it would be this big of a response," he says. "I feel silly for not doing it sooner."
What adds to the welcoming response is the reactions Ferneau says he used to get at his restaurant when he attempted to make healthy dishes.
"They would look at me like I was crazy, and say 'no bacon?' or 'no cream sauce?'" Ferneau said. "It was hard to gauge off the previous clientele."
Now, instead of packing on the pounds, his clientele is shedding them. Ferneau said some of his customers have averaged multiple pounds a week on his meals.
"I'd say about 90 percent have been happy with the food," Ferneau says.
Most of the meals are between $10-$13. Salads and snacks are usually around $5. Those who sign up for a whole week get 10 meals for $100, which can save between $15-$20.
In the future, Ferneau says he has plans for shipping his meals nationwide and having dispensaries across central Arkansas.
"One of the main reasons people fall off in eating healthy is because of time," Ferneau says. "It has to be available to them. If we're in, say, North Little Rock, and the customer lives in west Little Rock, there are a lot of shiny signs in between there and here that are going to attract them."
Right now, Ferneau's operation is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in Hillcrest. However, there are rumors his operation could be moving into the Argenta Market location on Main Street in North Little Rock. The grocery story closed in February.
To keep up with the menu from day-to-day, check out Ferneau's Facebook page.