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Emerging Restaurant Chain: LYFE Kitchen

Health food nuts, meet quick-serve. Quick-serve, meet chef-driven. Celebrity chefs Art Smith and Tal Ronnen have teamed up with chain veterans to introduce LYFE Kitchen, a socially responsible, healthy-food focused brand opening its first restaurant in Palo Atlo, Calif., with additional first stores planned for the Chicago area.

FES1105TrendsLYFE2An acronym for Love Your Food Everyday, LYFE founder Stephen Sidwell and CEO Mike Roberts focused on creating a menu of healthy, wholesome and natural dishes all less than 600 calories, made with responsibly sourced ingredients from local and sustainable farms and paired with added convenience, portability and affordability to fit in with the quick-serve segment. Smith was Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, a TV personality and owner of Table 52 in Chicago and Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., while Ronnen's known as an expert in vegan and vegetarian cooking. Roberts is a former global president and chief operating officer for McDonald's.

The bright and airy space with light greens, yellows and other Earth-centered colors, LYFE execs say, "will showcase the notion of the 'Sixth Sense,' a cornerstone of LYFE Kitchen." By that they mean the general public's intrinsic desire to do right and make powerful, positive purchasing decisions for both their bodies and the planet. Environmentally friendly initiatives include partnering with nonprofits and charitable organizations as well as using eco-friendly building and packaging materials, energy-efficient equipment and lighting, water-saving devices and other resource-saving applications not yet announced.