LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Healthy & Fresco, Land O' Lakes newest health food concept, may have just opened this year but it has been in the works for more than a decade.

  • Israel Martinez and Pablo Rosado opened restaurant
  • They first met while stationed in Puerto Rico
  • Their quick-service restaurant combines health food and sports
  • More Pasco County headlines

It is the brainchild of navy veterans Israel Martinez and Pablo Rosado.

They first met while they were stationed in Puerto Rico. Their paths crossed again in Norfolk, Va.

The friends recall sitting in the backyard one night in 2004, drinking beer while discussing the future.

That is when they made plans to go into business after they retired from the Navy someday.

"Back then, (the concept) was like beers and wings, but we kind of grew up and figured that wasn't the route to go. And in 2018 we got together again and just made the dream come true," Rosado said.

They recently retired after being stationed in Key West and decided to stay in Florida for their new chapter.

They chose the Tampa Bay area, and Land O' Lakes in particular, because of the economic growth.

The quick-service restaurant combines the friends two passions – healthy food and sports.

Think customizable bowls, wraps, sandwiches, and smoothies.

Unlike many similar concepts, the walls are decked in TVs so dedicated sports fans can enjoy their meal along with a beer or coffee.

The men credit the Navy for their success.

"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for what we learned and what the Navy gave us," Martinez said.  

They hope their story encourages other veterans and service members to go after what they want.

"Failure to us is not an option. We will succeed," Rosado said. "Coming out of the military, you have that kind of insecurity like, 'What am I going to do next, I don't have a steady paycheck.' But there's a myriad of possibilities."