Food Column: Guilt-free fast food at Sharky’s

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Approaching dinner hour, customers come to enjoy meals at Sharky’s in Northridge. Photo credit: Roza Asgharzadeh

Roza Asgharzadeh

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Fast food chains immediately suggest something bad and unhealthy in our minds when we think about it. Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill proves that it can be unlike stereotypical fast food.

The California-based food chain was founded by Steve Paperno who opened the first restaurant in 1992 in Sherman Oaks.

Since its beginning Sharky’s has strived to present natural foods to customers.

“A lot of our food is local and organic, not everything but a lot,” said Ann Marie Vitallo assistant manager of the Northridge Sharky’s. “We strive for sustainable and fresh food.”

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The Fiesta Burrito, a popular dish at Sharky’s accompanied by chips and a delicious Lime & Pineapple lemonade Photo credit: Roza Asgharzadeh

Located only walking distance from CSUN campus, on Nordhoff and Reseda, this is the biggest of all the Sharky’s locations in California. It’s the only one with a bar, serving everything from beers to sangria.

There’s no denying that this is straight up street food; nothing feels tweaked or cheated out to make it healthier. Only difference is the produce is better than most other Mexican fast food places, and you can tell by the way you feel after eating their meals.

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Sharky’s strive to serve Mexican street food that is organic and sustainable. Photo credit: Roza Asgharzadeh

Their Fiesta Burrito is one of their more popular burritos, probably because it contains all the goodies; organic rice, pinto or black beans, your choice of meat, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa verde. It comes with a side of nacho chips, which can be enjoyed with a variety of salsas from their salsa bar.

Niru Parmar and Susan Eller who work at Northridge high school enjoyed a couple of plates at Sharky’s for the first time.

“I had the tacos and it was really good,” Eller said, and was pleased with the great service provided by the staff. “They come and ask you what you need, make sure everything is good.”

Parmar had their salad and was also pleased with the service.

“They were able to switch out all the ingredients I didn’t want and accommodate to my wishes,” Parmar said.

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The biggest Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill located on Nordhoff and Reseda in Northridge Photo credit: Roza Asgharzadeh

Indeed the service was impeccable and the staff was really nice to their customers, despite approaching a busy dinner hour.

Another thing you can be in the lookout for are their fresh lemonades; exotic flavors like strawberry and cilantro lemonade, lime and pineapple, and watermelon basil.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill is a great choice whether you want to run over for a quick lunch, or unwind with a glass of sangria and some tacos after a long day at work – all for a great price.

If you’re a student, you receive a 10 percent discount upon showing your CSUN ID.

Sharky’s hours of operation are Monday to Friday, and Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.