Ray Allen recently announced his official retirement from the NBA, but the king of three-pointers already has a second career with his wife Shannon. The couple opened Grown, an organic fast-casual eatery in June. Since then, the place has, well, grown — adding two locations at Hard Rock Stadium. In a sea of hot dogs and fries, Grown provides healthful options for sports fans.
The concept began with Shannon's TV show, The Pre-Game Meal, itself inspired by nearly two decades of preparing nutritious food to fuel her baller husband's game. When their 7-year-old son, Walker, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, seeking a healthy lifestyle and clean diet became even more crucial.
Grown is not the typical followup for professional athletes' families. But the Allens truly have a passion for helping provide nourishing meals to Miami. According to Shannon, who runs the day-to-day operations of the eatery, "We hoped and prayed we weren't the only people who cared about organic. But the response has been overwhelming. We went into this venture thinking about a busy mom trying to put something healthy on the table. What we didn't realize is that millennials, people with autoimmune conditions, cancer survivors, senior citizens, and police officers eat our food."
Ray says Grown is trying to break the stereotype that eating organic is more difficult and time-consuming than grabbing a taco at the drive-thru. "The fastest food in the world is just peeling a banana."
Ray, who studied nutrition science, says eating clean helped him hone both his athletic and mental skills. "How I eat, how I nourish myself, is conditioning. Being an athlete pushes you to the brink. Most people won't admit it." But, he says, everyone can benefit from eating well. "This affects everybody — whether you're an NBA player or a kid in school. If you don't have the right fuel onboard, how can you perform when you get into a high-pressure situation?"
Shannon says the family went one step further by eating organic. "For me, personally, organic is a must. If you do the research, there's a benefit to growing food the way nature intended for it to be grown."
There's one other thing the Allens are passionate about: family. After two decades together, Ray says the secret is to lift each other up. "I've always encouraged Shannon to find her wings so she can grow and be successful. No matter what, be true to yourself." Shannon seconds that sentiment with profound words for any couple. "We have the opportunity to share our lives, but we don't own each other."