LYFE Kitchen opened at the Irvine Spectrum this weekend. This is the fast-casual concept by a team that includes two former McDonald's execs, featuring a menu designed by Food Network's Jeremy Bringardner, Tal Ronnen, and Art Smith, Oprah's former personal chef. Everything offered is less than 600 calories, contains less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium, and uses every recent food buzzword in existence. It's first of its kind to land in OC. There are already 12 locations scattered through the country, and the company has plans to open about 250 more over the next five years.
|LYFE Kitchen in Henderson, NV.|
I've been to other LYFE Kitchens and there's a consistency and uniformity I'd expect from a corporate outfit. Next to the entrance, there are menus in leaflets customized to whatever your dietary requirements happen to be, whether you're a vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, or if you can eat "Everything". Above this, there's the Mark Bittman quote: "The food policy that matters most is yours".
Also in every restaurant: a wall of potted herbs, a defining feature more important to the place than Playlands are to McDonald's. Butter and high fructose corn syrup aren't used, but quinoa and kale is, and prodigiously. More »