Calling all kale enthusiasts: California-born concept LYFE Kitchen is poised to hit Dallas with not just one but three outposts in the coming months. The healthy fast-casual chain, which specializes in dishes that clock in at 600 calories or less including plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, will open a trifecta of locations this summer: Plano (June 13), Preston Center (June 27) and West Village (July 25).
LYFE (that's "Love Your Food Everyday," natch) is the brainchild of two former McDonald's execs, but the menu is about as far off from Big Macs and McNuggets as imaginable thanks to LYFE's duo of consulting chefs, Art Smith and Tal Ronnen. Smith is perhaps best known as the one-time personal chef for Oprah, and the Southern food specialist also has a trio of restaurants in Chicago, D.C. and Atlanta; Ronnen is the owner of a West Hollywood vegan restaurant and has also authored a best-selling vegan cookbook. The two have developed a wide-ranging menu that Ronnen explains as having a little something for everyone — think edamame hummus, "unfried" buffalo chicken strips, grass-fed steaks and burgers, kale-banana smoothies and no shortage of the health nut's holy trinity of quinoa, kale and Greek yogurt. The vegan crowd will find plenty of animal-free options including veggie burgers, a Thai curry bowl with marinated tofu and ravioli stuffed with Italian "sausage."
LYFE's four existing locations are in California and Chicago, so why the expansion to Dallas? "I think every major metropolitan city is a good fit for the concept," Ronnen told Eater. "We have a menu that's kind of fit for everyone, there's obviously the vegan side of the menu that I've created and the non-vegan side that Chef Art has created. Art's known for Southern food so imagine hearty, Southern food done healthy that still tastes good. That seems like a home run for Dallas. You can bring anyone there and they're going to feel comfortable and have something to eat."
Of course, it's not all tofu and kale — all the LYFE locations also feature a selection of sustainable and/or organically sourced wine, and the Dallas locations will feature local beer from brewers like Franconia, Rahr & Sons, Lakewood Brewing and Grapevine Craft Brewery. That mindset also extends to the restaurants themselves: They're LEED certified with a focus on being environmentally friendly, right down to the counters and tabletops which are made from 100 percent recycled materials.