Miami Heat's Ray Allen Opening Healthy Fast-Food Concept in South Miami UPDATED

Update: Grown opened today, Friday, March 25, in a preview capacity (which can mean a limited menu and/or limited hours). The eatery is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m,, according to its Facebook page. Call 305-663-4769 for exact hours during this preview period, and stay tuned for official opening-day information.

Forgo McDonald's and Taco Bell. Former Miami Heat player Ray Allen and wife Shannon are opening Grown, a new fast-food concept in South Miami (8211 S. Dixie Hwy.) this March.

Developed by the couple, Grown is said to be "real food, cooked slow, for fast people," meaning it fuses a farm-to-table concept using organic, local, and nutritious ingredients with the essence of a fast-food locale. 

“Grown was born out of frustration,” Shannon says. “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."

To help conceive Shannon's idea, the couple organized a team of experts to build Grown from the ground up. Dubbed the "kitchen cabinet," the health-knowledge squad that worked with the pair includes Michael Rose of Rose Capital Advisors; Tara Mardigan, director of nutrition at Fruit Street Health and former team nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox; Asha Loring, executive director of Health in the Hood; Faheem Mujahid, a trainer and holistic lifestyle coach; Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChop, a family-oriented cooking magazine; and Gabriele Marewski, founder of Paradise Farms Organic in Homestead.

Todd Kiley, previously of Boston’s Legendary Restaurant Group and Rainforest Café, will be the eatery's executive chef. He, along with Ray and Shannon, crafted an easy-to-navigate menu highlighting organic and locally sourced foods. Though dishes are made in a healthful way, they're still approachable and appetizing to adults, children, and families.

Using an open-kitchen concept, the restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates ranging from $4 to $18 and 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 will be family-style meal options too. 

All dishes will be available for sit-down, take-out, and through its full-service drive-thru.  Guests can eat in the 38-seat dining room or on the patio, which seats up to 42. 

For private luncheons, dinners, and small parties, Grown offers a space dubbed the "Kindergarden," which will also house special events such as nutritional workshops, cooking classes, and wellness demos.

The 1,900-square-foot space will also include an urban rooftop garden, which will produce a variety of fruits and vegetables that will be used for the eatery. Chefs will transport the greenery to the kitchen using a dumbwaiter system. 

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Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor, with her work appearing in print and digital titles worldwide.
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