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McDonalds Execs To Launch Healthy Eatery In Palo Alto

A Chicago-based restaurant opens its first restaurant in Palo Alto, bringing affordable and tasty health food to town.

Palo Altans could soon find a healthy, but delicious and fast, entrée for less than $14 at a new healthy restaurant aimed at making a new type of lifestyle and restaurant.

LYFE Kitchen, which stands for Love Your Food Everyday, will open sometime this summer and was started by two former McDonald’s executives and a third entrepreneur.

Mike Roberts, CEO, is former president and chief operations officer for McDonald’s Corporation; Stephen Sidwell, founder, is an entrepreneur of 18 years who has founded five successful companies; and Mike Donahue, chief communications officer, is the former chief communications and external relations officer for McDonald’s.

“We really believe we’re developing the next generation of a lifestyle brand. You’ve got fast food; we’re going to call ours LSR—Lifestyle Restaurant,” Donahue said.

“It’s affordable, convenient and, oh, by the way, it’s great for you. First and foremost, though, it tastes good.”

Corina Chapman, who helps the company with its public relations, said the target date is August 2011, and the address is 167 Hamilton Ave., between Emerson and High streets.

Russ Cohen, executive director of Palo Alto Downtown Business & Professional Association, said there are a few restaurants downtown that cater to vegetarians, “so we do have a number of restaurants on the healthier side, which is a good balance.”

Cohen said he hadn’t yet heard of LYFE Kitchen. Nevertheless, he said, “We [pride] ourselves on providing a good mix of businesses downtown, which include a good mix of restaurants, so we encourage their success and we’ll do what we can to help them along.”

One of the restaurant’s chefs, Art Smith, was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. The other prominent chef, Tal Ronnen, has cooked for people like Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and .

Donahue said food has been perceived as a problem with all the health issues and obesity, but “we think food can be the solution.”

There’s thousands of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in foods that can help fight disease. Donahue said he has two children and knows it’s not always easy to find healthy food all available in one place, which is what he and his two partners hope to provide with LYFE Kitchen.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and even desserts, with most main items being 600 calories or less. Donahue added that the restaurant has something for everyone, even all-natural BBQ burgers.

Donahue said the Chicago-based company would expand its locations after the Palo Alto restaurant kicks off well, and hopes to focus at first in Bay Area. Within the next 12-18 months, she said, LYFE Kitchen hopes offer a retail line to grocery stores where customers can buy its products locally.

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