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Speed, affordability, taste—there are many reasons why people like to eat fast food. But many options at traditional fast food joints are served with a side of guilt. Burgers, for instance, are made with factory-farmed meat and come topped with industrial-grade lettuce.
Enter healthy fast food. At these new restaurants, the food has many of the same perks as fast food but is likely to be much more nutritious and much kinder to the planet. Here are four spots you might want to add to your restaurant bucket list.
Kimbal Musk, the brother of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is opening a grab-and-go style restaurant in Shelby Farms Park, an urban park and conservancy. The restaurant will serve sandwiches, soups and salads made with organic ingredients sourced from local farmers. Incredibly, the farm-fresh food will cost $5 or less, Musk told Tech Insider. The prices will be kept low because it will only serve what's in season. The Kitchenette will have its grand opening on Aug. 13.
"Normal fast food is full of calories and low of nutritional value," he told Tech Insider. "People are overweight and starving at the same time. It's a tragedy for both the individual and society."
If you can't get to Memphis, Musk has plans to open Kitchenette around the country.
Like his famous older brother, Musk is also involved in the tech scene (he's on the board at Tesla, SpaceX, he and Elon started X.com which became PayPal) but his big passion seems to be with food. He attended culinary school in New York City and already has two farm-to-table spots called The Kitchen and Next Door in Denver, Boulder, Chicago and Memphis.
Musk is serious about sustainable food. As the co-founder of the nonprofit The Kitchen Community, he and his team have set up nearly 300 Learning Gardens in schools and community organizations across the country.
The Kitchen Community staff with co-founder Kimbal Musk (center).The Kitchen Community
NBA superstar Ray Allen and his wife, Shannon Allen, launched their organic restaurant this Spring because they wanted to find healthy options for their son Walker, who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was only 17 months old.
"People want to be healthier, eat cleaner and feel better about what they're putting in their bodies," the former Miami Heat player told the Miami Herald earlier this year.
Grown serves healthy, gluten-free and low-cost fare such as juices, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, wraps, baked goods and coffee with prices ranging from $4-18. It also has a drive-through, carry-out and grab-and-go options.
The 1,900-square-foot space has a rooftop garden where vegetables and herbs will be harvested for use in the restaurant's kitchen.
The nation's first fast-food chain certified organic by the USDA was launched late last year by former Costco executive Erica Welton.
"I didn't really understand how few restaurants were certified," Welton told Business Insider. "I was shocked to find out that we were actually America's first certified-organic fast-food chain."
The spicy fried chicken, the chain's signature dish, costs around $9 for a sandwich. The meal is made from organic, air-chilled chicken soaked in organic buttermilk and fried in Nutiva organic refined coconut oil.
"The Organic Coup represents a new day and a new attitude about fast food—fast food can be good food," the venture says on its website. "The Coup believes in food that is raised within the Organic USDA standards. These standards do not allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals and pesticides, or the use of antibiotics or added hormones in livestock. We believe in sustainability, not just for the quality of life today, but also for the future."
The company lists additional sites in San Francisco and Pleasant Hill, with plans to open more spots mainly on the West Coast.
Locol was a much-needed healthy food spot in the Watts neighborhood, an area dotted by traditional fast food joints. According to Fast Company, celebrity chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi opened the spot in January "to compete directly with chains like McDonald's, but without turning to industrial food processing. They use inexpensive cuts of meat, incorporate lots of greens, and augment $4 burgers and sandwiches with fermented grains, which are low-cost and add bulk to the meat without sacrificing taste or texture." Meals cost about $7.
"The core of the idea is how do we get the food to be 99 cents and sit right next to a Popeye's and sit right next to a Church's or a KFC?" Choi told the
Los Angeles Times. "That's where the chef's mind comes in. "
Choi pretty much kicked off the food-truck craze with his Kogi BBQ Taco and Patterson was behind San Francisco's two Michelin starred Coi.
The Locol team is planning locations in Oakland, San Francisco and more nationwide.
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