Update: True Food Kitchen is scheduled to open in fall 2020. This story has been updated to reflect the restaurant's projected opening date.
True Food Kitchen is set to open its first Miami-area restaurant at the Falls.
The health-driven restaurant will replace the former T.G.I.Friday's to occupy more than 10,000 square feet with an indoor dining room, a patio, and a bar.
"At True Food Kitchen, we believe that every ingredient matters in everything we serve," True Food Kitchen brand chef Robert McCormick says.
True Food Kitchen was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2008 when cofounder Dr. Andrew Weil didn’t want to sacrifice flavor for the sake of healthy eating. The Harvard-trained Weil made a name for himself by embracing alternative medicine techniques. The doctor and author is known for books such as The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness. The prolific doctor also hosts a podcast and sells skincare products and wild-caught seafood on drweil.com.
The integrative medicine doctor wanted to create a restaurant that served food people could enjoy and not regret eating. Eleven years later, there are 28 locations in 17 states, including New York, Louisiana, Colorado, and California. The Falls outpost will mark the seventh True Food Kitchen in Florida, with other locations in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, Naples, and Jacksonville.
The menu is based on Weil's anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which stresses eating more fruits and vegetables and minimizing the consumption of processed foods. The menu offers dishes filled with whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and limited carbohydrates. "Anti-inflammatory is a lifestyle," says Christine Ferris, senior marketing brand manager for True Food Kitchen.
Each menu item avoids causing the fatigue, bloating, and loss of energy that certain meals create, Ferris says. Even the higher-calorie items on True Food's menu, such as desserts and alcoholic beverages, should be enjoyed without any guilt, according to Ferris.
The menu also changes with the seasons. "We change our menu quarterly because it allows us to showcase seasonal ingredients that are nutrient-dense and at the peak of their freshness and flavor,” McCormick says. Most items are vegetarian, although chicken, seafood, and even steak are offered. All dishes can also be made gluten-free and can be customized for a particular diet.
True Food Kitchen has incorporated sea buckthorn — an orange-red berry — into its fall menu. The plant is used in some of the bar's drinks, from the antioxidant mimosa, infused with the berry, cava, honey, and pomegranate, to a ginger margarita ($12), made with ginger liqueur, organic reposado tequila, and honey.
"From nutrient-dense staples and carefully sourced proteins to little-known superfoods, we use the most responsible, creative, in-season ingredients we can find," McCormick says.
The menu includes permanent dishes too. The ancient grain bowl ($14) reflects each level of the anti-inflammatory pyramid by including miso-glazed sweet potato, house-made cilantro paste, turmeric, grilled portobello mushrooms, avocado, and hemp seed. Edamame dumplings, made with dashi and white truffle oil, are another staple on the menu.
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The bar also serves organic, biodynamic, and sustainable wines, along with a wide selection of beers.
Ferris says the restaurant localizes its “bright and approachable” atmosphere by adding local artwork to embody Miami’s culture. “You will feel the energy when you walk in."
True Food Kitchen is an “exciting addition” to the shopping center, says the Falls' manager, Dailen Rodriguez. "The community is very wellness-aware, making the restaurant a great fit for our customers."
True Food Kitchen at the Falls. 8888 SW 136th St., Miami; truefoodkitchen.com. Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday noon to 7 p.m. Opening fall 2020.