Affordable, convenient, healthy food is something customers are promised at Lean Kitchen, Lawrence's latest on-the-go restaurant.
Opened in February of this year, Lean Kitchen at 4000 W. 6th St. concentrates on creating pre-made meals for people looking for a healthy alternative to typical fast food establishments.
Owner of the Lawrence Lean Kitchen, Corey Coburn, helped open the restaurant, along with creator of the company Austin Evans, because of their passion for health and the need for healthier alternatives for people with little to no time to prepare meals.
“It was a no-brainer for us," Coburn said. "We thought it’d be a great fit to come to Lawrence and offer this healthy option."
Lean Kitchen originated in St. Joseph, Missouri, and has since grown into eight locations across Alabama, Kansas and Missouri. The founders plan to open eight additional locations in Colorado and other parts of Missouri.
“At Lean Kitchen, we want it to be able to provide food to people that they want to go out of their way for,” Coburn said. “We want to be up there with McDonald’s, but be a healthy alternative that you truly choose to pick. We are going for the taste aspect and affordability as well.”
Prices for meals at Lean Kitchen are between $7 and $9. Kids meals are also available for $3.99.
Lean Kitchen serves meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and smoothies. Customers can grab a meal on their morning commute like breakfast tacos or chocolate protein donuts at their drive through window. Every meal served at Lean Kitchen is made in-house with fresh ingredients, Coburn said.
Consumers only have to heat the meals in a microwave — no actual cooking is necessary. In other words, meal prep options can be useful for individuals without access to a stove.
The meal prep industry is one example of the action toward making fresh, healthy foods more convenient. In 2017 the meal prepping market counted sales of $2.6 billion according to Maryland-based research firm Packaged Facts.
“The Lean Kitchen has quick options, so you don’t have to grab something crappy and it is cheaper than other meal prep companies,” said Lawrence resident and frequent Lean Kitchen customer Jacob Fritzel. “Plus, it tastes good.”
When someone walks into Lean Kitchen, staff try to ensure to make a great impression with their meal options and bright, inviting space.
“It is very welcoming [at Lean Kitchen], and it’s open,” said assistant manager Libby Christensen. “I like meeting our customers and kind of connecting with them, I’d say the atmosphere is pretty high-energy whether it is about the business or meal prep.”
Lean Kitchen is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.