LYFE Kitchen opens its doors in downtown Palo Alto

LYFE Kitchen, on Hamilton and Emerson in downtown Palo Alto

I’m pretty excited about the grand opening of LYFE Kitchen (“Love Your Food Everyday”). I’ve been hearing about the concept for a few months now and I was hopeful but skeptical: “providing great tasting, good-for-you food that is convenient and affordable.” Isn’t that what everyone is trying to do? And aren’t there real barriers to cheap healthy food?

Well if anyone is going to succeed, the LYFE team has a good shot: Mike Robers, former McDonald’s COO, Mike Donahue, former McDonald’s Chief Communications and External Relations Officer, Chef Art Smith and Chef Tal Ronnen, former personal chefs to Oprah. Those are some serious credentials. And based on my experience last night at the first meal served by LYFE, they’re delivering on their promise. The food was delicious, healthy, cheap, and incredibly fast. Literally it arrived in less than two minutes. The founders were accessible, enthusiastic, inquisitive and humble. And the service was incredibly friendly.

Friendly counter staff at LYFE

For our first LYFE meal (very likely the first of MANY…) we tried the edamame hummus and flatbread crisps ($3.99), the side of brussels sprouts and squash ($2.49) and Tal’s ancient grain bowl ($11.99). My husband Michael ordered the grain bowl after seeing a photo of it flash on a flatscreen near the counter. He didn’t realize it was made with vegetarian protein (called “gardein”) and that it wasn’t actually meat until Mike Donahue told him halfway through our meal. All were delicious and the portions were substantial. While the price of Michael’s dish ($11.99) isn’t necessarily that cheap, I think it’s very possible to assemble a filling dinner from their menu for under $8, which is on the low-end compared with other downtown Palo Alto options.

The team’s growth plans are ambitious: 250 locations within five years, starting in the Bay Area and expanding across the country. At this point I just hope they can succeed. Keeping their price points low, as well as attracting crowds in communities that aren’t as bought-in to healthy eating will pose significant challenges.

Tal's ancient grain bowl

Edamame hummus

Brussels sprouts and squash

Here are some photos of our meal. They also serve fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies, wine and beer. Who wants to join me for my next meal at LYFE??

Lunch services begins today at 11am and breakfast starts tomorrow at 7am. The grand opening celebration will be held on Tuesday, October 18th starting at 11am with Chefs Art and Tal. There’s tons of activity and updates on their facebook page, along with photos and interviews with customers.

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About Michelle Paratore

Management consultant obsessed with food justice, food politics, food start-ups, food sustainability, and eating food too...
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