freshark was founded by peter kambitsis and elias kalogiros, two health-conscious guys who are particular about what they put in their bodies. but after hard gym workouts and busy days at work, they found it challenging to find a healthy place to eat or get a fast meal with slow-food flavor that wasn’t laden with calories and fat. a place where, no matter how hungry you are or what you were in the mood for, you could order something healthy and satisfying. no fried food. no microwaved food.
healthy place to eat
fortunately for their community, they are also foodies and successful restaurateurs in new york city. combining their profession with a lifestyle passion, they opened ripe juice bar & grill in 2008 — the model for freshark — to make healthy food and juices more readily available for everyone to enjoy and provide a healthy place to eat for the Rockville Centre communities.
they quickly saw that many of their neighbors wanted that too. people of all ages and interests—from gym-goers to office workers to couples on a date to concerned moms—came into sample ripe’s squeezed-to-order juices and smoothies, and made-to-order wraps, overflowing salads, lean burgers and grilled entrees.
and they kept coming — sometimes up to five times a day, and brought friends, their kids, and a commitment to eating fresh, healthy food and loving every bite.
(the main squeeze & ceo)
– according to his brother and sister, he is definitely mom’s favorite. he’s worked in the restaurant business since 11 years old and it all started while he worked at his uncle’s café in greece. he would zip up and down the beach offering the guests towels, taking their food & drink orders. then he would run as fast as he could back inside because the sand was so hot! his mom laughs and says, “he was so cute and adorable. he would try to balance the heavy tray with all food and drinks in the hot sand”. he continued on and served tables during college to pay off his tuition. he graduated from new york’s baruch college, zicklin school of business with a degree in international business & marketing. after college he worked for 3 fortune 500 companies including pfizer, stryker and johnson & johnson (by the way his favorite shampoo is baby shampoo from johnson & johnson and we don’t know why. he has no hair!). he honed in his business skills and opened his first & second successful restaurant within 3 years of each other. he is passionate about the environment and the restaurant food business. his mission now is to make freshark juice bar & grill a global recognized brand for those care about their bodies and the environment. peter is a ball of energy and he can do pushups with no hands (ok, we were joking about that last one). he likes to sit and relax by the water with his wife, bike outdoors, work out and throw bbq’s in the backyard for all his friends and family. he also grows his own fruits & vegetables in his backyard.
(the nerd & cfo)
– if a picture was worth a thousand words, his would be two thousand! this little fella would do all sorts of odd jobs as a youngster. as soon as he got his school working papers he went off to work in the local supermarket as a stock boy in the produce isle. it didn’t take (that) long to get promoted and make it to the register position (well, it kind of took a while because he couldn’t reach the register). legend even has it, he helped the owner of the supermarket build a software to help with inventory and check lists because items went missing or never got delivered. what a little geek! elias met peter in high school while playing soccer and the two little fellas hit it off. they worked out at the gym together, ran track and after school they bused tables ‘til 2:00 am in the morning. they hustled and bustled as fast as they could but that wasn’t enough for the managers. elias (and his glasses) turned around to peter one day and said, “when i get taller i am going to open my own restaurant and run it better than these guys.” 20 years later, peter and elias walked into that place and bought that restaurant and now it runs better “than those guys”. elias has a background in finance and information technology. he loves to read, work out, snowboard with night vision goggles and spend quality time with his family. he also has a saltwater fish tank.
mark j. sarro
(the culinary wizard & director of operations)
– mark was born with a wrench, a hammer and a whisk. he can cook it, fix it and knock it down. the son of a hard working electrician he has always been handy but his passion was in the kitchen. mark tore down the culinary ceiling early one day when he saw a for rent sign on a vacant lot in the south shore of long island that read “gold mine for those who know how to mine”. he grabbed the hammer and the wrench and put the whisk in his back pocket to mix cement (so he says). he built an eatery that defined the community for years until super storm sandy came by in 2012 and tore it down. he spent days in the rubble with his daughters and his wife looking to recoup whatever sandy didn’t wash away. scrapping and gathering whatever they could, he looked up at his family raising an object in his hand and yelling in high note “i found it. i found my whisk.” they all started laughing. mark always has a positive attitude and never lets anything put him down. he quickly bounced back landing a management position in a corporate franchise and he successfully opened their first 3 locations in nyc and long island. but something was missing. the ability to get creative and stay ahead of the curve in the culinary world. one day he answered a calling from the freshark juice bar & grill company. the group was quickly expanding and needed help. mark showed up with super tasting gourmet salads with fruit infused dressings, homemade protein bars, quinoa vegetable burgers and a protein packed platters. that was it. they sat for hours talking about the juice bar & grill concept. mark adores his wife and two daughters but three women can make anyone’s hair grey (btw he doesn’t have grey hair at all). mark likes to go fishing without bait because he doesn’t even want the fish to interrupt his thinking.