ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 85 of 147

TASTE LEFT: LYFE Kitchen's herb wall highlights fresh ingredients that are key to the restaurant's popular dishes. BOTTOM LEFT: A breakfast sandwich from LYFE Kitchen. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Cease and Desist, spiked with house-distilled CH Vodka. SPIRITED BEGINNINGS CH Distillery hits the West Loop with the ultimate grown-in-Illinois products. BY MEG MATHIS WITH LYFE KITCHEN, MIKE DONAHUE AND ART SMITH BRING HEALTHY, FAST FARE TO RIVER NORTH. BY J.P. ANDERSON H ealthy cuisine is the last thing you might expect from two former fast food execs and a Chicago chef famous for fried chicken, but that's exactly what former McDonald's officers Mike Roberts and Mike Donahue have created with chef Art Smith of Table fifty-two: LYFE Kitchen, a fast-casual concept where every menu item is under 600 calories. As its first Chicago location opens, Michigan Avenue chatted with Donahue and Smith about why LYFE Kitchen is a great fit for the Windy City. What was the inspiration for LYFE Kitchen? Mike Donahue: The number one unmet need for American consumers is delicious food that's good for you, served in a convenient, affordable, and not preachy way, in an inviting, warm space. Art, how did you first get involved? Art Smith: When I was being very public about my weight loss, I got a call from Mike and Mike Roberts. They talked to me about Tal Ronnen, the vegan chef, and I was reluctant because I was thrown off Top Chef Masters for a vegan challenge. [Laughs] But Tal convinced me that veganism is good for people and the planet. How will you enact your tagline "Do good" in Chicago? MD: LYFE stands for "Love Your Food Everyday," and our call to action is "Eat good. Do good. Feel good." The eat good is the menu; the feel good is our socially responsible practices, from LEED-certified buildings to recycling; and do good is giving back to communities. We're creating a foundation called LYFE Works to help with nutritional education. What can we expect from the Chicago menu? AS: We're going to have steak and burgers, which will be unique to Chicago. We'll also have great fruits from the region—we've made a commitment that the food is gathered within a 350-mile radius. MD: And of course Art's unfried chicken, our top seller now. What are some of your personal favorite dishes? MD: I eat chef Tal Ronnen's ancient grains bowl with sirloin beef tips made with Gardein [alternative protein]. I served those to the football coaches at Stanford, and they refused to believe —MIKE DONAHUE that it wasn't real beef. 413 N. Clark St.; MA "Stanford's coaches refused to believe it wasn't real beef." PHOTOGRAPHY BY ARNOLD KLEIN (CH DISTILLERY) The Good LYFE "We focus on the balance of sweetness, acidity, temperature, and dilution of the cocktail," says CH Distillery managing director Krissy Schutte, sitting in a booth overlooking the buzzing Randolph Street lounge. The city's first distillery with an on-site cocktail bar, CH produces whiskey, gin, and vodka, all from Illinois-grown grain (and rum from molasses) that is distilled on a 20-plate column still for purity and all available by the bottle or incorporated into the bar's spirit-driven cocktail program. At the heart of the menu is CH Vodka, the foundation of the popular Cease and Desist (Lapsang souchong-infused gin, lemon, and house-made honey and ginger syrups), and Schutte's favorite libation, the Czech Mate (cinnamon- and allspice-infused vodka, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, lemon, simple syrup, and angostura bitters). "The distillery opens up so many doors to actually create spirits based on a cocktail that we envision," says Schutte, gesturing to the nearby stills. "It's like having a farm for bartenders." 564 W. Randolph St., 312-707-8780; 84 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 084_MA_Taste_SpiritTrend_Winter2014.indd 84 11/19/13 5:50 PM

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