Healthy restaurant concept starting in Memphis
Article by Andy Ashby – Memphis Business Journal
Memphis will be getting a new healthy eating option by January 2014.
Lettuce Eat LLC, a fast casual concept focusing on healthy salads and wraps, signed a 1,975-square-foot lease at the Carrefour Shopping Center in East Memphis.
The concept, started by local businesswoman Kelcie Hamm Allen, will operate at 6641 Poplar Ave., Suite 106, next to Swanky’s Taco Shop. Customers will be able to build their own wraps and salads from a large variety of choices.
“This is a new concept to Memphis, but is inspired by salad shops that I frequented in New York City while in college,” Allen said. “There’s a need in Memphis for healthier restaurant options and I am excited to have the opportunity to fill that void.”
Lettuce Eat will offer a variety of fresh salads with homemade dressings, using local farm produce and proteins. It will also have soups and other items.
The company picked this site for many reasons, including strong demographics and traffic counts, according to Maynard.
“It’s also surrounded by millions of square feet of office space within a 7-mile area that is not represented in the demographics,” he said. “Lettuce Eat plans to do a large amount of catering to the office buildings, businesses and schools, as well as the all the health care facilities in the surrounding areas.”
Local restaurant veteran Ben McLean is the concept’s director of operations.
“I think catering will be a big deal for us,” he said. “I think our menu will lend itself to that.”
Lettuce Eat will be open for lunch and dinner. It will also serve wine and beer.
“We’re going to reinvent fast casual for Memphis,” McLean said. “I think it will be a great concept for East Memphis and we can grow from there.”
East Memphis seemed like a logical choice for the concept’s first location.
There are endless reasons why we picked Carrefour as our location. The key for us will be to deliver ingredient-driven salads in creative combinations. We believe that the neighborhood we are in is a great match for us due to the large amount of people who lunch in the area,” Allen said
The restaurant will employ 15-20 people initially.
Allen has plans for more locations, including a site in Midtown..
“We plan to look at expanding further into the Memphis market within a year or two of opening this first location. I’d like to eventually see locations in midtown, Cordova and Collierville,” she said.
Allen said the group could grow by up to five stores over the next few years.