Health and Wellness-Inspired Restaurant, True Food Kitchen, Opens in the Warehouse District
NEW ORLEANS — Locals looking for new healthy dining options are in luck.
True Food Kitchen is now open and serving fresh delicacies from their seasonal menu, rooted in the principles of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which limits red meat, refined carbohydrates, margarine, sugar-sweetened beverages and fried foods, while incorporating more leafy vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, fruits and olive oil.
Following a series of job fairs to fill nearly 150 positions, the restaurant opened in the Warehouse District on Wednesday, Sep. 25. The bright and airy space is situated on the ground floor of The Julia at Saint Charles (801 St. Charles Ave.) and spans over 6,500 square feet.
Cofounded by integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, and backed by Oprah Winfrey, the first True Food Kitchen opened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008, and now operates 28 locations in 12 states. True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone felt that the timing was right for opening a location in New Orleans – a city that celebrates rich, flavorful cuisine throughout the year.
“I have an incredibly deep respect for the food scene in New Orleans,” she said. “We always look for places where we can add our unique point of view into the existing community.”
True Food Kitchen promotes the idea of “food as medicine,” where dining and nutrition coexist and render a life well lived.
“I think that there is a growing local community, especially in the Warehouse District where we’re located, that is thoughtful about how they eat,” said Barone. “This idea of wellness goes for the local community, and for visitors who might need that little bit of respite in the middle of their indulgence.”
Since becoming the CEO of True Food Kitchen in August of 2016, Barone has grown the business from 12 to 28 restaurants. More than 20 new restaurants are in the works.
“I’ve been following Dr. Weil for years, so when the opportunity came up to basically be an evangelist for his philosophy, it was a really neat thing,” said Barone, a former Starbucks executive who earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. “I get to wake up every single morning and fulfill our company’s mission, and my own personal mission, to help people eat better.”
True Food New Orleans is currently offering meals from their fall menu, including its first-ever beet-based burger, along with butternut squash soup, chicken sausage pizza, sweet potato curry, grilled salmon with cilantro pumpkin seed pesto, and spaghetti squash casserole. The restaurant also creates seasonal cocktails – like the Passion Colada and the Pom Collins – made from fresh squeezed juices.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch, and prepped in front of diners.
True Food Kitchen features a vast dining room with 174 seats near an open kitchen, along with an outside area and two private dining rooms. It’s furnished with natural woods, eco-friendly materials, and greenery, including indoor and outdoor garden basins filled with aromatic herbs and spices, and New Orleans-inspired artwork.
A custom piece located in the main dining room is made from materials donated through the Green Project and ArcGNO: dried food ingredients featured in local dishes, recycled Mardi Gras beads, antique doorknobs, vintage Krewe emblems, a glittery shoe, and other local treasures that reflect the city’s vibrant culture.
Barone said the New Orleans-based True Food Kitchen is in fact more colorful than True Food Kitchen restaurants around the country.
“I think the Warehouse District is a special place where we’ll have an opportunity to both embrace the local community, and provide this awesome food that will help people feel better, but also be a place where the many tourists and convention-goers that come into the city can have that bit of respite, before they have to wake up early the next morning for their flight, or for their convention.”
Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur is the associate news editor of BizNewOrleans.com