This article was first published in The Square Table in 2005. The photos were used with permission.
Anthony Leone, owner of New York’s Energy Kitchen
Interview by Dina
Most people think of carbs as the energy source of the body. Why name your low-carb eatery Energy Kitchen? Are you trying to tell us something about protein?
We named Energy Kitchen because we don’t think of our store as just a low carb eatery. We believe we are a place where we take the thinking out of health. We serve all nutritionally balanced foods by steaming, baking, and grilling. Nothing is fried!
I lived in NY for years and like every New Yorker, I love eating out and trying new foods. Although New York has health food grocers, it is seriously lacking in healthy restaurants. New Yorkers are more adventurous than most Americans when it comes to trying different foods, especially ethnic foods. But bison? Have you found that New Yorkers are willing to give up their breakfast bagels and takeout Chinese for healthy alternatives?
New Yorkers are fascinating people they have very open minds. They are very receptive to our concept. We seem to find the people that have made a lifestyle change. Once you decide to eat correctly you do not go back to eating in fast food restaurants. We give them the comfort of knowing that they can get their food fast, it is good for them and they are not compromising taste.
What kind of offerings does Energy Kitchen have for those of us who have a sweet tooth?
We serve incredible protein brownies. We add Optimum Whey based protein to them and sweeten them with applesauce. They taste great.
You have degrees in hotel restaurant management and hospitality management. You were a district manager for Boston Market and Ranch 1 and a general manager for a full-service restaurant seating 300. How do you go from those experiences to opening up a healthy eatery?
I always had a passion for working out and eating right. Those jobs got me to a level which put me in a position to take a chance and open my lifetime dream.
New Yorkers have become more health conscious with the popularity of gyms like Crunch and restaurants like Zen Palate becoming healthy havens for carnivores as well. Did this influence your decision to open Energy Kitchen in NY? And do you plan to branch out of the city?
No, and yes we plan to franchise nationwide.