Owner Alan Bekerman and Executive Chef Christine Moody of iQ Food Co. are on a mission to bring you healthy fare – wherever you are across the city – and no matter what your dietary restrictions.
Their latest location at 18 York St. moves the healthy chain outside of the Financial District, where their first two restaurants are located (TD Centre and Brookfield Place). Good news for those who work and live outside those areas - the plan is to extend outside of this specific core.
"We are excited about finding new locations," says Chef Christine Moody.
Moody - formerly the Culinary Director of Nantucket Wine Festival and Executive Chef of Sconset Café in picturesque Siasconset, Massachusetts – brings in "as much local and organic as possible," with seasonal items brought in at their peak. Blueberries were taken off the menu this past winter, because she says "I don’t think it’s responsible to serve things so out of season."
Between the three locations, the restaurant serves approximately 2,000 a day. A lot has changed thought since the quick serve restaurant first opened in 2011. What was popular four years ago is not what tops that lists today. In keeping up with the pulse of the whole food movement, iQ Food Co. has worked with everything from kombucha to kimchi to kaffir. "We are much more adventurous now," Moody says.
Fresh ingredients and whole foods are the core to the menu, with almost everything made from scratch. Nutrient dense dishes are meant to keep you energized without weighing you down. So instead of relying on may-heavy sandwiches on a sugar-laden bagel or a heavy mac and cheese that’s loaded with salt and calories, pick something packed with superfoods such as olive oil, avocadoes, apples, sweet potatoes, quinoa, salmon, cacao, organic tempeh, chia seeds, spirulina, organic medjool dates and turmeric. You won’t believe the difference it makes.
With spring being all about new beginnings, their new menu boasts exciting dishes such as Spicy Salmon ($11.73) with grilled salmon, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, shredded red cabbage, broccoli, pickled red onions, pea sprouts, lime juice, spinach, brown rice and sriracha vinaigrette and BFG ($9.74) that’s packed with energizing ingredients - spinach, kale, Brussel sprouts, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, green apple, watermelon radish, sunflower seeds and green goddess dressing. This aren't your typical boring salads that are a chore to get through.Also new, a collaboration on exclusive juice with Greenhouse Juice Co., making it easy to eat and drink well no matter how hectic your schedule.
The menu is designed so that whether you’re looking for a healthy breakfast, something pre- or post-workout or a satisfying dinner, there are multiple options. The nexus of what they pivot around continues, however, to be lunchtime items.
Everything is brought in a chopped, roasted and pureed in house. Real chicken is used. "You get what you pay for" is the motto here.
Moody says, "This is the future of food."
In addition to healthy ingredients, nutritional information, including sodium amounts and calorie counts, can also be found on their website. And this is one of the few restaurants where modifications aren’t seen as a hassle, where it’s actually a part of regular eating.
Here, dishes can be accommodated for various dietary restrictions and allergies. As well, iQ Food Co. has also created a paired menu and computer system where modifications are built-in so if you are gluten-free, vegan or don’t eat something specific, you can move quickly through the line and still get a meal that is suited for your specific dietary needs and/or preferences.
There are great tips outlined as well for those looking to eat healthier or cut back calories such as swapping in lemon juice instead of dressing, why you might want to skip cheese, and the bonus of ordering greens instead of grains.
Finally a healthy meal that caters to your dietary needs. And don’t think that means it can’t be fun, tasty and include dessert too – their Crack Cup ($3.32) is made up of only whole ingredients - almonds, dates, almond butter, pecans, water, mountain salt, coconut oil, agave and cacao - and will satisfy any sweet tooth.
You really can have it all. Your way.