Henderson got a dose of healthy foods with the new LYFE Kitchen, now open at The District at Green Valley Ranch. Mike Donahue, one of the co-founders of the company, talks about how the restaurant with outposts in California and Chicago decided to move to Vegas (finally), why the restaurant looks the way it does, what you should order and more.
How did LYFE Kitchen end up coming to the District at Green Valley Ranch for its first Vegas-area location?
We have a simple belief that LYFE Kitchen Restaurants help fulfill one of the biggest unmet needs to consumers today, that being great tasting food that's also deliciously good for you. We have a fairly sophisticated model of how we find markets that we believe are filled with customers who have been longing for such a restaurant, because the live active, adventurous lifestyles, understand you can have nutritious food that also tastes great, and are looking for new and exciting experiences. The Henderson dynamic fits LKR's approach perfectly, and we believe we will be able to grow in the area as more and more consumers become aware of us.
Why open a location in Las Vegas?
Are you kidding us? Where better? The epicurean, culinary capital of the world. We've been looking in this area since day one, and are blessed to have found such a great spot with a receptive community. We believe if you just take a moment to "Taste LYFE" you will come back consistently. It's a great market for those who want to eat great food, experience new tastes, and "Love Your Food Everyday."
How do you think the Vegas market is different from, say, California?
Both are great markets for LKR, active lifestyles, great restaurants, consumers love new experiences and exciting adventures. Vegas may be even more eclectic or diverse because of the international travel. Either way, we believe there are many locations in Nevada that would support the concept.
Will there be any dishes served only here in Vegas? What are they?
We have great new recipes seasonally throughout the year, and as we grow in Vegas, identify suppliers, regional trends, and hear from our customers we're open to new dishes for markets. We'd love to hear from your readers their ideas for a unique recipe in this market.
What were you thinking about in terms of design of the restaurant?
A respite. A warm and inviting atmosphere, to serve all customer needs. Need a comfortable seat, couch, and time to relax, we have your section. Looking for a respite, glass of wine or beer, a place to sit and work on WiFi, we have several seating areas for you. Want to brave the heat and elements, we have a great patio. Alone and social, join our community table. The restaurant is designed to be warm and inviting, yet functional and allow you to move at the speed of your lifestyle. Some want to stay and relax, others need to move quickly at lunch, so our average serving time is under ten minutes. We also want to provide inspiration with our great quotes, wink of an eye, iconic herb wall representing the herbs and spices that replace other less nutritious ingredients that we use in our cooking. We believe we're a "LYFEstyle restaurant or LSR" that caters to all of your eating occasions.
What has the menu testing process been like?
Rewarding. Complimentary. It's very gratifying that the year we spent on a "Taste Quest" with our famous chefs, including Art Smith, former Oprah chef and "King of Taste," Tal Ronnen, the "Conscious Cook" and award winning vegan consulting chef, and Jeremy Bringardner, classically trained, recent winner of Chopped on the Food Network, all of them culinary and recipe geniuses. They have proven from the customer feedback we get, that they created and inspired, scrumptious menu items for every virtual food preference and palate.
What's are some of the must order dishes?
Art's Unfried Chicken: 519 calories, 840 mg Sodium, choice of grilled chicken or Gardein' chick'n with roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries, cashew cream, and Dijon vinaigrette.
Grass-Fed Burger: 544 Calories, 635 mg Sodium, made with 100% grass-fed beef, romaine, tomato, red onion, farmhouse pickle, dijonnaise on an oatmeal bun.
Grass-Fed Steak & Potatoes: 545 Calories, 580mg Sodium, includes 100% grass-fed beef, served with roasted Yukon gold potatoes, cherry tomatoes, carmelized onions, and garlic-parsley jus.
Fish Tacos: 456 Calories, 687mg Sodium, and includes grilled mahi, chayote slaw, avocado, cilantro, green onion, chipotle aioli on warm corn tortillas, and salsa fresca on the side.
Kale-Banana Smoothie: 209 Calories, 28mg Sodium and is made with raw kale, fresh ginger, banana, cucumber, apple juice, and lemon juice.
Signature LYFE Waters:
Cucumber Mint: 70 Calories, 10mg Sodium, fresh cucumber juice with mint, lime, agave
Hibiscus Beet: 150 Calories, 40mg Sodium, hibiscus tea infused with beet, apple, lemon, ginger
Orange Ginger Chia: 101 Calories, 28 mg Sodium, fresh-squeezed orange juice, filtered water, lime, ginger, mint chia seeds
Ginger Mint Chia: 70 Calories, 10mg Sodium, filtered water infused with ginger, lime, mint and chia seeds
What's on tap for the future? Does LYFE Kitchen have plans for other restaurants in Vegas?
We do have plans for other restaurants in this area, but we prefer to allow the customer to lead us, to tell us if we should grow in their community and follow their preferences. We are always looking for new, great sites, so let us know your thoughts, and we'll be sure to check everything out, in the best interests of a solid growth plan.
We encourage all in Nevada to "Taste LYFE" and tell us what you think we should do next!
· All Coverage of LYFE Kitchen [~ELV~]
Mike Donahue [Photo: LYFE Kitchen]