Med Fresh Grill has been a Mill Avenue constant for four years, surviving the wave of desolation the downtown Tempe stretch has faced in recent times. Like many restaurants on Mill, Med Fresh serves quickly and on disposable plates, but one taste of the food shows what sets this spot apart.
Edip San and his two brothers have had restaurants in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, California, and most recently Tempe. In 1983, their tasty Mediterranean fare attracted royal clientele: the prince and princess of Morocco.
The San brothers serve up traditional Turkish dishes such as meat kebabs, hummus, pita, falafel, dolmas, and baba ghanouj.
San's food is so fresh and unique that he says they've never had to advertise, attracting all their business through word of mouth.
"It's the best to hear customers say, 'we heard how good you are,'" he says.
San does the shopping for the restaurant every three days, making sure he picks out the ripest produce available. The dishes he and his brothers prepare are all made to order without any extra grease or fats.
If San served the same food on a glass plate, he is sure they would get double the money for the meal. He hopes to open a fine dining restaurant in north Scottsdale in the near future, but for now he is happy with his little restaurant on Mill.
"I'm not looking for something big," he says. "Everything's pre-made nowadays and I just want our customers to know the difference between that and eating healthy."
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He attributes his good health at 52 to the food he eats and serves in his restaurant, and he honestly doesn't look much older than 40. San even brags that the cooks at Med Fresh don't know how to use a microwave.
San realizes there are many Mediterranean grills in the Valley, but he isn't worried. He says the taste, quality, and recipes will always put them ahead of the competition, which is why their restaurant still attracts local big shots like ASU President Michael Crow.
"If you see waiters from the other Mediterranean restaurants in here eating," he says, "that really tells you something."