Tag Archives: Starbucks

Eat Fit Go

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fast-casual restaurant chains, such as Panera Bread and Chipotle, have gained market share in recent years. They offer fresher fare than traditional fast food joints, but maintain the speed and convenience of counter service. Omaha-based Eat Fit Go ups the ante with an even faster and arguably healthier option for consumers on the go.

“I think, in general, the public is going through a food revolution,” says Eat Fit Go owner Aaron McKeever. “Everybody is kind of going towards that health conscious customer. And that’s definitely us. We’re convenience, grab, and go.”

McKeever’s three Omaha stores have large refrigerators stocked with a wide variety of pre-packaged meals and snacks. Every package clearly lists nutritional information and nearly all of them have fewer than 600 calories. There are microwaves for customers to heat up their meals if they choose to dine in.

“When we put this concept together, my partner, Sam (Vakhidov), and I wanted the feeling of a Starbucks-meets-an-Apple-Store. It’s fresh, it’s inviting, you can stay,” says McKeever.

EatFitGo2This isn’t McKeever’s first foray into restaurants or retail. Twenty years ago he started in business with a car dealership and is a former owner of Pitch Pizzeria and Jams Bar & Grill. He says he recently sold his shares in his other restaurants because “at the rate we’re growing with (Eat Fit Go), this needs my focus.”

He is not the company’s only industry veteran. Executive Chef Karl Marsh is the vice president of kitchen operations and comes up with several of the menu ideas.

Sitting at a table in the stylish Aksarben Village location, McKeever explains that they have a range of customers with different dietary needs, including people on low calorie, gluten-free, and diabetic-friendly diets. He says athletes like it because they know exactly what they are putting in their bodies.

One of his regular customers is Brandon Howell. A member of the Right at Home corporate marketing team, Howell says he likes that he can walk to the store from his Aksarben Village office.

“I usually eat lunch there about three times a week, and then I maybe grab dinner twice a week from there,” says Howell. “Really, with me trying to lose weight, it’s the calories that are in the meals, the portion control, the ease of it.”

Howell lives alone and says he doesn’t always want to cook in large batches for himself. He also points out that Eat Fit Go is teaching him about appropriate portion sizes and what is possible to prepare on his own. NOLA’s Dirty Rice and the All American breakfast are his favorites.

“It’s all very high-quality food, and it all tastes good,” says Howell. “That breakfast is like 320 calories, and I struggle to finish it.”

McKeever says his target customers were originally soccer moms who didn’t have time to cook but wanted their kids to eat something healthy on the way to activities.

“I think that the biggest thing with this concept—this grab-and-go concept—is changing people’s lifestyles. They want a healthy option that really hasn’t been out there in terms of convenience. I think that making dinner now at home is a luxury,” says McKeever.

The company is developing a kids’ menu and vegetarian entrees. As the organization expands and more franchises are sold around the country, each market will have a central, corporate-run kitchen that supplies the franchisees with meals.

The first corporate-owned Eat Fit Go locations opened in early 2016 in Omaha, with franchises set to open in several Midwestern cities and as far away as Atlanta and Scottsdale, Arizona.

“They should put one by my house, too, and take all of my money,” says Howell.

Visit eatfitgo.com for more information. B2B

Independent Living

May 5, 2016 by

Retirement communities stereotypically bring to mind senior citizens playing shuffleboard and bingo, perhaps eating some form of dry meatloaf and mushy potatoes in the cafeteria.

That may have been your grandparents’ retirement community, but it certainly won’t be yours, or your parents’. Independent living communities today offer trendy gluten-free items on the menu, yoga and tai chi in the gym, and even the chance to take in Broadway shows downtown. They are located in trendy midtown as well as quieter west Omaha.

Independent living is any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, from apartments to freestanding homes. The housing is generally more compact and offers easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work. People can live their own lives, but they reside in a community with activities and services geared towards seniors.

Great Activities

George Bakhit, executive director of Fountain View Senior Living, said that these popular amenities are making family members look at senior living, including independent living, in a different light.

“I’m seeing children who are looking at senior living for their folks, and they are intrigued,” Bakhit says.

Bakhit says part of the key to being a great retirement living facility is the quality of activities. Fountain View does provides bingo, and many people play bridge, but residents also go to the movies, baseball games, and the theater. The establishment provides live entertainment by popular local entertainers like Johnny Ray Gomez.

Key for Fountain View is maintaining a feeling that residents are at home and have the amenities they need. They have easy access to shopping areas, banks, and the Interstate. The Fountain View community also offers assisted living and care for those with Alzheimers or dementia. The ability to provide a variety of services is something Bakhit stressed people need to look for when choosing a facility.

“When looking for a senior living community, one might be conscious to look for a continual care community to make the transition from an independent living to assisted living smoother,” Bakhit says.

Great food

At Maple Ridge Retirement Community, residents don’t have to wait for a specified mealtime to eat. The community offers a Freedom Dining Program, based on the cruise-line model of dining.

They don’t serve mystery meat, either. One dish the executive chef serves is chicken-fried steak atop a crispy fried potato cake, over a chive oil drizzled corn soubise. The meal is finished with fried baby spinach and brunoise red peppers.

That’s just one meal that was recently served in their fine dining option. Maple Ridge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and they extend their lunch for another hour by leaving the soup and salad bar open.  Hungry between 3 and 4 p.m.? They offer snacks and sandwiches.

“The Freedom Dining, the ability to come and go more to fit with their lifestyles, is something that is totally unique to us,” says DeniseTownsend, a manager at Maple Ridge.

While they don’t cater to special diets, such as low-sodium, in the independent living area, they do offer some trendy options, like gluten-free or vegetarian.

Urban Living

Indulging in trendy PieFive Pizza Co. before catching a movie at Aksarben Cinema might be something for hipsters, but residents at Aksarben Village Retirement Living Community just walk right across the street for a slice.  They can also grab some morning coffee at Starbucks.

It’s all part of modern independent living.