Client Feature: LYFE Kitchen
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Client Feature: LYFE Kitchen

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by reclaimed 1 Comment

While much of Reclaimed Table’s focus on sustainability relates to building materials, there’s more to going green than that. Today, people are conscious not only of the chemicals in our environment, but also in our food. They’re demanding all-natural food, free of antibiotics and sourced from free-range animals. Restaurants, from small, farm-to-table establishments to larger fast food restaurants, are taking heed as they race to create cleaner, chemical-free menus. Those that began this practice early on have been able to develop strong relationships with organic suppliers and, more importantly, with consumers hungry for organic food.

One restaurant company has had sustainability in its DNA from the beginning. LYFE Kitchen, whose name appropriately stands for “Love Your Food Everyday,” serves up delicious, healthy food in a revolutionary way. This fast-casual restaurant was co-founded in 2011 by Chance Carlisle of the Carlisle Company and Mike Roberts, the former president and CEO of McDonald’s, who championed their sustainability team. They envisioned that LYFE would utilize the McDonald’s concept of fast food, but took it further by ensuring that the food was also local, healthy, and sustainable. In an article from WIRED, Roberts says, “I’m dreaming of a place where science, medicine, producers, farmers, and restaurateurs meet to say we are on a journey together.”

Furthermore, according to the same WIRED article, LYFE Kitchen strives to “transform the way the world produces organic ingredients, doing for responsibly grown meat and veggies what McDonald’s did for factory-farmed beef.” The road to accomplishing this goal is obviously a long one, but LYFE is already off to a great start.

IMG_4448Chef Art Smith and Chef Jeremy Bringardner designed a marvelous menu. It’s filled with meals made from organic, local ingredients, whenever possible, which allows the company to support the surrounding community. Plus, choosing fresh, local ingredients requires less transportation, which leaves behind a lower carbon footprint. All of the meat used is antibiotic and hormone-free and is approved by Global Animal Partnership, an organization pioneering the way toward the humane treatment of animals.

LYFE Kitchen also offers a wide selection of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options to satisfy any dietary restrictions. All of the delectable items are less than 600 calories and made without butter, cream, MSG, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, or preservatives. Whether it’s fish tacos, a quinoa crunch bowl, or margarita flatbread, everyone in your party is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.

Image-1Even more impressive is the fact that the restaurant’s focus on sustainability doesn’t stop at the food. It also extends to the restaurant design. All of LYFE’s locations are LEED-accredited. The wooden furniture and paneling (which we were proud to have created for two of their Chicago locations, while working with the talented architecture and design company O’Kelly + Kasprak) is made from reclaimed or FSC certified wood. Furthermore, the upholstered furniture is filled with soy-based, rather than petroleum-based foam, and the material used for the upholstery is PVC-free. The walls shine with chemical-free paint, and the lights are low voltage. The kitchen uses energy-saving oven microwaves, griddles, and dishwashers; even the cheese melters reduce energy consumption. No matter where you look, what you sit on, or where you put your food, you can be certain you’re interacting in some way with something green.

With 18 current locations across the country and four in the Chicago area, the ever-expanding LYFE Kitchen appears as if it is in great position to grow. Creating this organic food model on the outset has been helpful in jumpstarting their growth. According to this Crain’s Chicago Business article, many fast food chains that want to get a “clean-label” for their food will have to wait until domestic suppliers have the capacity to provide the type of clean food consumers are demanding. Larger chains cannot find enough antibiotic free meat in the U.S. and often have to look overseas. It will take years for some to create a menu that’s made with completely clean, all-natural food.

Though LYFE’s mission to transform sustainability in the restaurant industry may seem like a tall order, its accomplishments thus far, along with its motto, “Eat good. Do good. Feel good,” give us the feeling that their success will greatly surpass “good.”

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One Response

  1. […] design, we’ve often taken the opportunity to share inspiring examples of these ideals (click here and here for past posts). With the August opening of Sweetgreen in Chicago, we knew this was a […]

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