Despite the continued prevalence of the SAD (Standard American Diet), there's no question that dietary priorities are starting to shift. More than ever before, Americans are moving towards plant-based, life-affirming foods, and Green Bar Kitchen is a prime example.
The popular Fort Lauderdale eatery, known for its healthy, organic eats and creative flair, has seen an overwhelmingly positive response since it opened in 2013. With community demand high, a second location was only logical. As of yesterday, Green Bar Express has kicked off its soft opening at 3429 Galt Ocean Drive.
From a breakfast bar with pancakes and sausage links to a lunch spread with curry chicken salad and buffalo tempeh, the gleaming new spot is offering a whole host of grab-and-go goodies, curated by owners and healthy lifestyle aficionados Charles Grippo and Elena Pezzo.
Grippo and Pezzo were too excited to wait for all the pieces to fall into place before they started serving, so the store will be opening in phases.
They launched yesterday morning with a full vegan breakfast spread. "I'm calling it the plant-powered breakfast," says Pezzo.
Over the next few weeks they'll be adding coffee, kombucha and tonics, seating and a retail fridge.
The new location is designed to be quick and convenient.
"We didn't want anyone to feel that they had to sacrifice eating healthy just because they're going to or coming from a workout, so we wanted to make it easy," explains Grippo.
"It's lean and mean ... or I should say, lean and green!"
As far as the menu is concerned, regulars at the 17th Street location will be happy to find their favorites.
"I've almost completely duplicated the menu at 17th Street. However, we will be doing more specialty items, so now we're introducing nut milks and we're going to be introducing flatbread pizzas."
Most of the items on the menu are gluten-free, but there are three or four that contain gluten, Grippo says. These include sausage links and a taco crumble. "People that don't have the gluten issues can kind of get into the animal-free, dairy-free lifestyle, because that does keep a lot of people away."
The breakfast and lunch spreads will be sold by the scoop, says Grippo, to make it easy for people to order as much as they want. From French toast and oatmeal to curried chicken salad and grilled portobello, there'll be something for everyone.
They also have a new baker cooking up pastries and desserts -- carrot cake, banana chip muffins, cookies, brownies and more.
The hours will start at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but that could change depending on customer demand.
"I am here to serve whatever the public wants," Grippo says. That goes for menu items and other details, too. The whole idea behind Green Bar is to serve their audience.
"We want people to watch us grow organically. We fund ourselves, so as we make the money we put it back into the business and the customers, explains Grippo. "That's why we opened this way. It's a collaboration -- I keep adding what I'm told to add. If you say, 'Hey, I want this,' as long as I get enough people asking for the same thing, I will."
Their new POS system also retains customer information, so regulars will have their info all stored away, making it easy to order "the usual".
"You can get breakfast and lunch every single day. We can deliver or you can pick up."
They'll also be introducing a customer loyalty program, so regular diners will get added incentives.
"If you're going to help me stay in business, why am I going to take advantage of that?" says Grippo of the program, adding that some people dine with Green Bar four or more times a week.
"I want to be able to help you to come more. You've gotta give it away to keep it! That's served me well and people seem to be responsive to it."
Green Bar Express is now open at 3429 Galt Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.