As South Florida’s growing culinary scene continues to evolve and place a heavier emphasis on sourcing local and organic ingredients, there is an increasing demand for both nutritious and affordable meal options. Grown, a first-of-its-kind fast-food restaurant developed by Shannon and Ray Allen and opening March 2016 in South Miami, aims to fill that void in the market with “real food, cooked slow, for fast people.” With a focus on delicious, nutrient-dense fare, the innovative concept marries the quality of farm-to-fork cuisine with the convenience of fast-food dining.
Grown’s owners/co-creators—Shannon, creator/executive producer of The PreGame Meal TV show and former member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Ray, a two-time NBA Champion, 10-time NBA All-Star, and Olympic gold medalist—will make it possible for people on the go to access high-quality foods at affordable prices.
“Grown was born out of frustration,” Shannon says. “At home I do my best to prepare delicious, nutrient-dense meals for our five children, including our son Walker, who is living with Type 1 diabetes. Like most busy families, we juggle homework, afterschool sports, and everyday commitments—we live in our cars. I had an a-ha moment where I realized I couldn’t sit around helpless waiting for someone else to create a fast-food option that met our family’s dietary needs, and as we did our research, it became obvious that this wasn’t a struggle unique to us; families everywhere are looking for convenience without compromise."
Widely recognized for their passion and advocacy of healthy living, the duo enlisted the assistance of a team of professionals referred to as the “Kitchen Cabinet” to make their vision a reality. Key members who have lent their talent and expertise include Michael Rose of Rose Capital Advisors; Tara Mardigan, director of nutrition at Fruit Street Health, co-author of Real Fit Kitchen, and former team nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox; Asha Loring, executive director of Health in the Hood; Faheem Mujahid, fitness expert master trainer and holistic lifestyle coach; Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChop, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families; and Gabriele Marewski, founder/creator of Paradise Farms Organic.
The approachable and easy-to-navigate organic menu will be overseen by executive chef Todd Kiley, an industry veteran with experience at Boston’s Legendary Restaurant Group, Rainforest Café, Legal Sea Foods, and Back Bay Restaurant Group. Grown is perfect for those looking to change or enhance their eating habits with better-for-you options. “People want to be healthier, eat cleaner, and feel better about what they’re putting in their bodies,” Ray says. “I know this from personal experience, and when Grown opens, it will very much be a concept unlike anything else designed to be accessible by everyone, from the weekend warrior to the soccer Mom and anyone in between.”
From its open kitchen, the restaurant will serve a robust selection of locally sourced, organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner items at accessible price points ($4–$18), including small-batch soups made from scratch daily, fresh-spun salads, sandwiches and wraps, gluten-free baked goods, made-to-order cold-pressed juices, fruit smoothies, and fair-trade coffees and teas. For those on the move, Grown will have a full-service drive thru, grab-and-go options, carry-out, and family-style meals to go, all featuring locally sourced, fresh seasonal produce.
Practicing sustainability beyond the kitchen, Grown will utilize pulp-free and compostable paper products, 100 percent recyclable cups, BPA-free storage containers, and plantable menus and kids’ meal packaging that will encourage even their youngest guests to cultivate their own gardens.
Originally designed by HKK Architects, the open and inviting 1,900-square-foot space will boast several unique environmentally-friendly features, including an urban rooftop garden where a team of local farmers are cultivating a variety of vegetables, salad greens, microgreens, and herbs. Chefs will transport the greenery to the kitchen with the use of an outdoor dumbwaiter system custom-made for the restaurant. Grown’s rustic façade, viewable from the busy streets of South Dixie Highway, is crafted from 100-year-old reclaimed barn wood.
Guests will be welcomed into the airy dining room by a refreshing palette of crisp whites and ocean blues, custom-made birch millwork, and LEED-certified lighting. Serving as the focal point of the central dining room will be a floor-to-ceiling living versa wall complete with planters filled with both edible and aromatic vegetation. With indoor seating for up to 38, guests can enjoy their meal at the communal wrap-around bar, or at one of the many booths or tables; those looking to enjoy the comfort of the outdoors can dine on the patio with seating for up to 42. For private luncheons, dinners, or small parties, guests can enjoy the private enclosed space, known as the Kindergarden, which will also house upcoming special events such as nutritional workshops, cooking classes, and wellness demos.
Encouraging a family-friendly environment, the restaurant will have engaging play areas for kids of all ages featuring an interactive iPad bar equipped with nutritional and fitness themed games designed to educate them on healthy eating habits, as well as a hands-on “IdeaPaint” wall that will allow kids to express themselves artistically.
Grown is located at 8211 South Dixie Highway. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner service daily, the flagship location will offer delivery and catering for private events.