Lyfe Kitchen is probably the one. We all say we want to eat healthier, even when we go out, and industry analysis says we are starting to eat less fast food. (So much so, in fact, that Taco Bell just launched a taco shop in Huntington Beach and it’s not a Taco Bell.) Lyfe Kitchen, which just opened in Green Valley, looks like the franchise that will capitalize on all this.
And it’s not because every dish on the menu, which spans breakfast, lunch and dinner, is under 600 calories. The Pizzadillawich ($7.99) sounds like something Carl’s Jr. would have a super-hot supermodel chomping on in one of those bizarre, porny commercials, but instead it’s stuffed with eggplant, peppers and goat cheese mozzarella and registers at 531 calories. The reason Lyfe will succeed is simple—the food tastes good. The grass-fed burger ($8.99), planted on an oatmeal bun with a tangy pickle and dijon mayo, is a happy replacement any time you get a Big Mac craving, much more meaty and satisfying than any clown could conceive.
Breakfast fare, served until 11 a.m., ranges from a plate of eggs, turkey sausage and chipotle potato hash to quinoa buttermilk pancakes ($4.99) or a sleek Greek yogurt bowl ($3.99) with pomegranate chia seeds, almonds and blueberries. Lunchtime’s “unfried” Buffalo chicken strips ($6.99)—conceptualized by celebrity chef Art Smith and also available as a grown-up entrée ($12.99)—might be the way to rid your children of McNugget consumption forever.
Lyfe Kitchen, which has also opened in Chicago, California, Texas and Colorado, is definitely family friendly, even if its tidy, somewhat sterile decor doesn’t offer the warmth you might be looking for in a let’s-all-go-out weekend meal. And while you’ll feel better and lighter after eating here, that doesn’t equate to boring eats. There’s a great roasted salmon dish ($14.99) with fennel and spicy tomato sauce, a Thai curry bowl with all kinds of veggies plus tofu or chicken, and a soba noodle-barramundi combo ($13.99) with mushrooms and edamame in a kimchi-flavored broth.
You’ll eat here, but will it be your go-to dining destination? It depends if you’re the food-as-fuel type, or if you’re looking for maximum enjoyment—maybe a little splurge—with your well-deserved restaurant experience. Most of the spots we write about in this space are recommendations for the latter. Lyfe satisfies with no guilt, and there aren’t many restaurants in Las Vegas that can pull that off. But don’t you want to feel a little guilty? Me too.
Lyfe Kitchen 140 S. Green Valley Parkway #142, 702-558-0131. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.