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Healthy dining chain True Food Kitchen bets big on downtown New Orleans


The wave of development in downtown New Orleans has brought with it new restaurant concepts from local chefs and national brands.

The latest, True Food Kitchen (801 Julia St., 504-558-3900), comes from a celebrity doctor and the mantra of healthy living he’s preached everywhere from the bestseller list to TV talk shows.

It officially opens Wednesday (Sept. 25) after a few days of trial runs.

True Food Kitchen is a restaurant chain co-founded by Dr. Andrew Weil and framed by his anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which emphasizes vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish and lean meats.


Dr. Andrew Weil at the opening of a True Food Kitchen in, Palo Alto, California, Sept. 29, 2016.

True Food Kitchen spreads Weil’s teachings about this approach across a large menu (see below) that takes in many different kinds of dishes, taking cues from various global influences.

It ranges through edamame dumplings and kale guacamole; pizza topped with butternut squash and vegan ricotta, or chicken sausage and smoked gouda; curries, Korean sweet potato noodles and grain bowls; burgers made from beets or quinoa, smoked tempeh or turkey and, right there with them all, beef; and entrees like grilled salmon, poke bowls and tacos.

Vegan and gluten free dishes abound, as do accommodations for other specialized diets. There’s a full bar for healthy teas and fresh juice cocktails.

True Food Kitchen is a health food restaurant designed to be sleek and chic rather than earthy-crunchy, and the company is certainly betting big on the concept in downtown New Orleans. The new restaurant is huge, with seats for more than 200 (about on par with Justine, the French Quarter brasserie that opened earlier this year). It is designed around an open kitchen, with a pair of private dining rooms and a covered patio.

The new restaurant holds down the St. Charles Avenue corner of the Julia, a new apartment building constructed over what was previously a surface parking lot. Of the new ground level storefronts here, one other is now occupied by the restaurant Bonci, home of scissor-cut pizza from Rome, which opened in the summer.

The first True Food Kitchen opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008. The chain now has 28 locations and is on a growth spurt, with a dozen more planned to open in the next year.

The company made headlines last year when Oprah Winfrey became an investor, reportedly joining its board of directors.

True Food Kitchen

801 Julia St., 504-558-3900

Dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat. and Sun.

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