vegansaurus!

08/23/2011

LYFE Kitchen to open very soon, and here’s the menu!  »

LYFE Kitchen (Meave wrote about them earlier this year) is set to open “later this month” (it’s already August 23! When, dammit! When!) at 167 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto. As a refresher, LYFE kitchen is an experimental healthy fast food restaurant from some former McDonald’s head honchos, Oprah’s chef Art Smith (WHAT’S UP, O!), and vegan chef extraordinaire, Tal Ronnen. Because of Tal’s involvement, there are tons of vegan options on the menu, and they all look damn good. That’s a picture of the vegan corn chowder, I WILL EAT YOU. I THOUGHT all the desserts were supposed to be vegan, but they’re not marked as such, even though that banana run cheesecake sounds like something from Tal’s cookbook?? I dunno ‘bout that!

I got to interview Art Smith earlier this year and he was a very charming Southern gent of adorability and I fell straight in love with him. He told me Moby played his wedding’s after-party (yes, a wedding with an after-party! MARRY ME, ART! I, too, love to party hard!) and the whole thing was vegan (at Moby’s insistence, although Art thought it was a great idea, too!). Man, TO BE RICH AND IN LOVE. Although not to be a bitch but to be a total bitch, I’d probably have Leslie Hall play my after-party. Sorry, Moby! You just can’t work a gem sweater like my girl Leslie!

Anyway, what do you think of the menu? Will you be going to Palo Alto to eat there? I am pretty sure I will because even though the target demographic is soccer moms, I can eat just as much as those bitches! Also, I’d like this idea to succeed, and for the vegan options to sell well, and for LYFE Kitchen to grow bigger than McDonald’s and for us all to eat vegan banana rum cheesecake in a field of dreams! LET’S DO THIS.

02/08/2011

Lyfe Kitchen: Tal Ronnen, Art Smith, and a couple of dudes who used to work for McDonald’s want you to eat their healthy food  »

Guess what, vegans and the people who love them: restaurateurs really do want your money! Seriously! They are starting a chain of restaurants called Lyfe Kitchen, which will serve “healthy” omnivorous and vegan dishes. Art Smith, Oprah’s totally not-vegan chef who was once on Top Chef: Masters, has of late eschewed his creamy-buttery-cheesy cuisine for less artery-clogging death food at his own restaurant, and is in charge of the omnivorous part of the menu, and Tal “Mr. Gardein” Ronnen will be developing the vegan section. Plans are to open the first Lyfe Kitchen in Palo Alto, Calif. this summer.

This sounds kind of great, right? Except it also sounds a little, um, nutty. The chain will be marketed to “women age 18 to 49, hoping they’ll like the food enough to bring back friends andfamilies. While she’s enjoying a grain salad, there’s a beefy burger for her husband. While he’s munching away, he might try a bite of hers, and even like it.” Wait, what? Yeah, who wants to puke after reading that? Three sentences packed full of gnarly stereotypes, but stereotypes sell! And this isn’t a “vegan” restaurant: “The menu so far avoids modifiers like ‘vegan,’ ‘gluten-free’ and ‘dairy-free,’” despite offering such options. Because “vegan” is “scary” and “gluten-free” is for “crazies” and Lyfe Kitchen isn’t for scary crazies, it’s for Middle American Families and the Moms Who Run Them.

So definitely this is a positive idea coming to fruition, right? We shall see—you know your Vegansaurus will be checking this place out once it opens. What do you all think: is marketing to McDonald’s Moms the right way to sell a chain of semi-vegan restaurants? I mean, in Tal we trust, but as for the rest of the business partners and the model, who knows.

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