A new kind of energy

Chris Sharkey flexes his powerful arm muscles as he slices up energy bars.

Chris Sharkey flexes his powerful arm muscles as he slices up energy bars.

Photo By David Robert

Despite the ample seating and pleasant atmosphere, I wouldn’t recommend dining in at Fresh Energy Bakery. But then again, the management probably wouldn’t, either. Their baked goods are for people “on the go” living “active lifestyles.” It’s food intended to be eaten atop a mountain or while riding a bike or hanging from the rim of a basketball hoop: power bars.

Fresh Energy Bakery is unique to the Reno area. It’s a locally owned bakery that provides an alternative for those unwilling to shell out dough for stale national-brand power bars. The bars are nutritionally comparable to national brands, but because they’re baked fresh daily, they taste better. The bars are soft, chewy and flavorful.

Even those of us who would rather spend our summer afternoons leisurely lingering over a good meal than scaling naked rock face can enjoy the bars. Eating a power bar does not have to feel like a dystopian pill-popping moment where prepackaged, flavorless chemicals are supplanted for real food. At Fresh Energy Bakery, it’s just like having a baked goodie—with a slight mineral aftertaste.

The bars do work. And not just for athletic activities. If, for example, a restaurant reviewer for a weekly newspaper had procrastinated on writing his article and was really trying the patience of his editors, a couple bars might come in handy to fuel the energy and focus needed to crank out belated copy.

There are six different kinds of bars: Sustained Energy, Active Lady, Protein Extreme, Kid Power, Fiber Rich and Fruit Tree, and a few different flavors of each kind. For example, the Sustained Energy bars—high in protein and carbohydrates with added antioxidants— come in eight flavors, including Chocolate Espresso Boost and Peanut Butter Crunch. The Fiber Rich bars have flavors like Oatmeal Kaboom and Fudge Brownie.

For whatever reason, power bars marketed toward women usually taste the best, and the Active Lady line has some of the best flavors, like S’mores and Luscious Lemon Crisp. I’d also recommend going for any of the bars with chocolate icing, like the Mocha Almond Fudge Sustained Energy.

The bars come in packages of two with detailed nutritional information on the back. Most of the bars cost $2.30 per pack or a dozen for $10, but the children’s bars are $3.10 a pack and $12 per dozen, and the Protein Extreme cost a whopping $4.40 per pack or $24 per dozen.

The staff is friendly, helpful and willing to suggest bars for different diets—low-carb dieters should try the Protein Extreme bars.

My girl, Danielle, and I breakfasted at Fresh Energy Bakery and, as I said, it isn’t exactly conducive to in-house dining. But they have outdoor seating with terrific views of the Target across the parking lot, and the coffee’s good. Danielle and I sat there eating bar after bar (not something I would recommend—the bars are filling, and over-indulgence defeats the purpose of an energy bar). Most of the flavors are surprisingly good. The Oatmeal Kaboom bar was bland, but what do you expect from something oatmeal flavored?

I’d stick with S’mores and Mocha Almond Fudge and the kids’ flavors like Butterfinger Surprise, because part of the appeal of Fresh Energy Bakery is that you can eat candy bars that are actually good for you, and it’s nice that they taste like candy.