"We saw this as a revolutionary new concept that has the opportunity to do for food what Starbucks did for coffee," said Nate Cooper, one of the founding partners of the concept.
Started by a pair of former McDonald's execs, they've had success in California, and are now bringing their roasted salmon, healthy drinks and colorful flatbreads to Chicago.
"We don't have any microwave, there's no fryer. Everything is 100 percent made-to-order. Everything's under 600 calories and 1000 milligrams of sodium. No butter, no cream, no high fructose corn syrup, all fresh, local, organic as much as possible," said Cooper.
The Chopped Chimichurri salad is as good a place to start as anywhere. French green beans and grilled eggplant are the stars here, as well as roasted peppers, snap peas and edamame. Even with the chimichurri vinaigrette, it clocks in at 429 calories.
Butternut squash and roasted Brussels sprouts are the featured vegetables in an "unfried" chicken entrée. Topped with dried cranberries and cashew cream, even with the chicken, it comes in at 488 calories. The key? Like many other options on the menu, highly-specialized machines that allow high-heat roasting in just minutes.
"We have some really cool technology in the kitchen...and the food looks and tastes and smells beautiful," said Cooper.
And you can expect to see a lot more LYFE Kitchens popping up in the area over the next couple of months, including Evanston and Streeterville. And again, everything less than 600 calories.
The Evanston store is slated to open up in just a few weeks, while Streeterville will be sometime this fall.
413 N. Clark St.