Had a good bison burger lately? If you've never tried this leaner beef alternative, head down to Pinecrest and check out Energy Kitchen's first outlet outside the New York area.
Known for their healthy approach to fast food, the restaurant brings their line of burgers, wraps, salads, and smoothies to South Florida. Anthony Leone, Founder and CEO, plans to open multiple Miami-area locations over the next couple years, including in South Beach, Coral Gables, and Aventura.
We sat down with Leone to get his thoughts on the Miami market and on his growing chain of healthy quick-serve joints:
New Times: What brought you to the Miami market after opening 10 stores in the New York area?
Anthony Leone: Being an FIU graduate I am very familiar with Miami. We thought that it would be the ideal area to be the first store to open outside the NY area. In addition we partnered up with Justo Pozo who is a phenomenal entrepreneur himself. He shares the same mission and values as us and is passionate on making Energy Kitchen the pioneer and leader in the healthy fast casual segment. Our goal is to have 1,000 stores in 10 years.
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Why do you think Miamians will be receptive to the Energy Kitchen concept? Why the Pinecrest location?
Miami and the Pinecrest area will be very receptive because people are active all year round. Miamians tend to spend much of their time being outdoors doing activities and sports. Many of the people have made the lifestyle change to eat correctly already. Miami is an influencer town and appreciates good food. They also understand the correlation of healthy eating and feeling good about themselves.
What led you to starting Energy Kitchen?
I started Energy Kitchen out of frustration. I found it very difficult to eat healthy in a fast casual atmosphere. Food was loaded with hidden calories and fat. They had multiple serving sizes. I wanted to take the thinking out of eating healthy. We are going to change the eating habits of America!
What separates Energy Kitchen from your competitors?
Everything on our menu is under 500 calories. Everything is either grilled, baked, or steamed and never fried. We only have one serving size. Even though we do not have to, we post all our calorie counts. We have done this since day one. We do this all without sacrificing taste. If you think about it we are fast food without the guilt!