Downtown Des Moines is finally home to a healthy meal prep restaurant and juicery
We’ve all been there, back-to-back meetings with a protein bar mid afternoon. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.
Downtown Des Moines dining options just got a little more healthful.
Evolve Juicery and Paleo Kitchen, a regional chain specializing in healthy food options that are friendly with myriad of diet restrictions and food allergies, opened on the first floor of the Fleming Building at 218 6th Ave. in Des Moines on Tuesday.
"Evolve is a meal prep company that specializes in low-carb diets for health-conscious people that don't have time to do it themselves," said Caleb Fechter, chef and co-owner of Evolve. Originally from Arkansas, Caleb owns the Evolve brand with his chiropractor husband, Jason Fechter.
The restaurant offers healthy options for people on diet plans and caters to those with allergies or with strict dietary restrictions. All meals are made without wheat, dairy, soy and legumes, and processed sugars have been replaced with honey, maple or coconut sugar.
Most meals can be modified to meet dietary needs and online ordering is available.
The menu rotates every week, offering a wide range of items including:
- Three breakfast items
- Three kinds of soups
- Three salad varieties plus salad kits
- An assortment of six grab-and-go snacks/meals
- 10 different entrées
- 12 kinds of smoothies
- Seven different juice shots
Breakfast items can range from green eggs and ham cups with kale and sweet potatoes to pork sausage patties with scrambled eggs and salsa (breakfast items average $5 to $6).
Examples of entrees include pot roast with roasted carrots; a taco bake with ground beef, dairy-free cheese and cauliflower rice; lemon and artichoke chicken with broccoli; and almond flour-breaded pork chops with country style green beans and gravy (entrees average $10 to $11). Caleb Fechter said to look for smoked meats to make the menu as an homage to his Kansas City influence.
Salads and soups will vary by week, but the grab-and-go meals will remain the same and include a protein, vegetable, trail mix and a sauce (all items $6 to $7). Each store offers organic, whole-pressed juice from vegetables and fruits (smoothies, $6 to $7; shots, $3.50). Juice shots are $1 on Fridays (normally $3.50).
And for dessert, enjoy chocolate mousse and spiced apple cider cheesecake, to name a few ($5 to $6).
Caleb Fechter said even though the food is geared to a more health-conscious clientele, there is no compromising of flavor: "We are chefs first, so our food is seasoned properly."
All dishes are created with help of Evolve's executive chef, Royal Cheuvront, a Johnson and Wales University graduate.
Be sure to bookmark these frequently-updated dining guides:
- Where to eat in downtown Des Moines
- The essential East Village dining guide
- The ultimate list of local Ankeny restaurants
- The 2018 West Des Moines restaurant guide
Evolve also offers several meal plans available online for singles and couples. There's also a full line of specialty products like bone broth, protein powder, baking mixes, sauces and snacks — including trail mixes and its signature bite-size Paleo Balls in a variety of flavors. All juices are made from organic fruit and vegetables.
If you're looking to check the place out this week, everything is available except for soups, salads and desserts. Those items will show up in the refrigerated cases on October 21.
Evolve Juicery and Kitchen caters to many kinds of diets including:
- 21 Day Sugar Detox
- Whole 30
- Auto Immune Protocol
Even though Evolve attracts clientele who are on a weight loss plan, Jason stresses that his restaurant's concept involves so much more than that.
"Some people have auto-immune diseases and their goal isn't just to lose weight," Caleb said. "Their goal is to skirt their Crohn's disease or to skirt their Celiac disease. That's what our food does. We make it easy for them to do that — and it tastes good."
Evolve is aptly-named. The Fechters started the company in their home in Overland Park, Kansas, in 2012.
Caleb had recently graduated with a degree in culinary arts from Arts Institute International. He placed an ad on Craigslist offering his services as a personal chef. His first client was on the Paleo diet and had a pre-diabetic son. Caleb set about creating a menu that would fit their needs.
Shortly thereafter, Caleb was up to three clients. Then 40. Then 100. In 2013, the Fechters refurbished an old biker bar in Shawnee, Kansas, for use of its larger kitchen. Jason stepped in as an on-staff doctor and takes questions from clients for free.
In 2014, they opened a new location in Wichita and moved the business into an even larger kitchen. After expanding that kitchen three times and opening 10 other locations, Evolve has already outgrown it.
Next month, Evolve's main kitchen will move into a new 44,000-square-foot industrial kitchen to handle all of its locations and will expand its offerings, employing 40 people for a total of 150 in five states.
Today, Evolve has 12 stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Two of the stores are located in Iowa: Des Moines and Iowa City. The Iowa City location opens in a few weeks. The Fechters own the brand, but the Des Moines store is owned by managing partners Gerry and Lisa Newman.
Evolve Juicery and Kitchen
Location: 218 6th Ave., Unit 102, Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.