The progeny of former Miami Heat player Ray Allen and wife Shannon, Grown fuses farm-to-table practices, such as using organic, local, and nutritious ingredients, but presents
“Grown was born out of frustration,” Shannon told New Times in March. “At home, I do my best to prepare delicious, nutrient-dense meals for our five children, including our son Walker, who is living with type 1 diabetes. Like most busy families, we juggle homework, after-school sports, and everyday commitments — we live in our cars. I had an aha moment where I realized I couldn’t sit around helpless waiting for someone else to create a fast-food option that met our family’s dietary needs."
Since Grown's opening, Allen says, the response from the community has been "nothing short of awe-inspiring."
"We opened our doors on March 25, hopeful that people would come," she says. "We were completely blown away to see a continuous line forming out of our doors and around the corner for a solid 15 hours. It was unreal."
The 1,900-square-foot space features an open kitchen and open-air plan, where staff, cooks, and diners converge. The indoor/outdoor dining room, which seats about 50, crowds during the lunch rush, but large communal tables allow diners to sit and interact.
"There are times that are definitely busier than others," she says. "Late mornings are still very busy inside our space, and we are especially busy at lunchtime inside and at the drive-thru. We're seeing a great crowd between 6 p.m. and close every day too, which is really cool because these are mostly new guests coming in for the first time."
All walk-in diners order at a central counter and can eat in or take out. If you're in a hurry, consider the full-service drive-thru. Depending upon your order, food takes about five to ten minutes to be ready, and staff will call your name for pickup.
The easy-to-navigate menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates, all made from scratch daily. Menu items include small-batch soups, salads, sandwiches, and wraps; gluten-free baked goods; and customizable cold-pressed juices and fruit smoothies. There are also family-style meal options, feeding families of four.
However, because all of Grown's ingredients are USDA-certified organic, sourced from organic farms in South Florida and throughout the country – even the mayonnaise is USDA organic — it makes dining here pricey. Breakfast tends to be the most inexpensive meal, whose dishes average $10 including tax. Though plates for lunch and dinner range from $4 to $18, creating a meal with meats, veggies, a drink, and tax averages about $20 to $25 per person depending upon the order.
Allen says she's aware of Grown's prices compared to those of other restaurants but insists it's worth it because the restaurant stays honest in terms of ingredients and preparation.
"Unfortunately, the cost of organic is still three times as costly as conventionally grown products, which makes it very expensive for us and cost-prohibitive for a lot of families," she says. "We wish it wasn't this way — that everyone could have access to the best-quality ingredients the food industry has to offer — but right now, it's more expensive to buy organic."
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According to Allen, retailers such as Costco and Walmart are quickly increasing the number of organic products available. That, in turn, she says, will hopefully level the playing field on pricing for restaurants like Grown.
"To give you an idea of costs, for example, we pay $3 for an organic-certified avocado, whereas a conventionally grown avocado may cost less than $1," she says. "We put an entire organic avocado into a Havana salad, sandwich, or wrap. That's just one ingredient. There are over 12 other separate ingredients besides avocado in the Havana, and they're all organic-certified, which gives you an example of how costly it is for us to offer a delicious organic product."
Grown is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., including the drive-thru. For more information, visit grown.org.