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‘City Greens’ brings an oasis of healthy options to downtown New Orleans

Written by  IntheNOLA.com
UPDATE (November 2014): Congratulations to City Greens on the opening of their second location in Elmwood (5161 Citrus Blvd.) in addition to their location in the CBD (909 Poydras St., Ste. 125)!

We’re back, New Orleans! Last year saw the addition of a very special person to the IntheNOLA family, baby Gabriel. So we took some time to learn to change diapers, make bottles, and avoid spit up. Now that we’ve got a handle (sort of) on those things, we’re excited to be back to getting everybody in the know of the great things happening IntheNOLA.
 
Bye-bye, maternity leave! Hello, 2014!
 
With the New Year, we know many of you have made some New Year’s resolutions. One of IntheNOLA’s New Year’s resolutions is to live a healthier lifestyle (so much easier said than done, especially since king cake season just started).Trying to eat healthy in this city can certainly seem impossible, but we’ve found the perfect place for you with our first Local Eatery Spotlight of 2014, City Greens in the CBD! Offering “fresh ingredients for a fresh perspective,” you can trust that your meal from City Greens will not only taste good, but also be good for you.

‘City Greens’ brings an oasis of healthy options to downtown New Orleans | IntheNOLA.com
We all know that after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans saw a huge influx of people to the city, and with those new people came “new ideas, tastes, and trends,” said City Greens co-founder, Abhi Bhansali. “All of a sudden, the city that was used to fatty and fried foods became a city that was interested in yoga, fresh greens, and nutrition. What we saw was that people were really starting to care more about their active lifestyles, about what they eat, and where those things come from. At the same time, there was a dearth of options for that person in the city of New Orleans.”
 
Tell us about it. It’s hard not to order that shrimp po-boy from Zimmer’s or seafood platter from Deanie’s, especially when your choices of healthy options are extremely limited. Lucky for us, City Greens is open and ready to spread the wealth, or in their case, the greens! Located downtown on Poydras, City Greens is perfect for those on the run.
 
“My business partners Ben Kazenmaier and Michael Birtel and I chose downtown as our headquarter spot because people downtown have an issue of convenience at lunchtime,” explained Abhi. "They end up sacrificing health for convenience. Getting a sandwich or burger will only take them twenty minutes and they only have a half an hour for lunch. We thought that we could fill that void by not only allowing the customer to purchase a fresh, natural, and healthy lunch, but doing so in a fast and convenient way. I wouldn’t necessarily call it fast food, I’d say we’re more fast casual.”
‘City Greens’ brings an oasis of healthy options to downtown New Orleans | IntheNOLA.com
He added, “We’re not the only soup, salad, and wrap joint that has fresh ingredients that are as fresh as the interior design. What makes us different is that we are the only one in the country that I know of that is backed by its own hydroponic farm. In Florida, we have over 15,000 square feet of hydroponic growth space where we grow everything from arugula to mixed greens to micro greens of every caliber. That enables us to stand behind the product we put on peoples' plates.”
 
That’s right, New Orleans, directly from the farm to your plate. From the Quinoa, Kale, and Corn Salad (carrots, corn, Brussels sprouts, quinoa, sheep’s milk feta, kale, and arugula in a roasted tomato vinaigrette) to Thai Peanut Shrimp Wrap (boiled gulf shrimp, basil, cilantro, carrots, cucumbers, peanuts, and spinach tossed in a Thai peanut sauce), you can be sure that each salad, soup, and wrap has the “best-tasting, natural ingredients City Greens can find.”
 
“In addition to growing most of our greens, we go through painstaking efforts to make sure that our other ingredients live up to that same standard of quality and flavor,” Abhi noted. “We work with a lot of local suppliers, vendors, and farmers to make sure our standards are met. We also work with a seasonal menu, meaning we have a new menu four times a year based on what is seasonally available; basically what the universe deems should be eaten at that time of year. So if we can’t find it or are not supposed to find, we don’t go to crazy lengths to force it.”
‘City Greens’ brings an oasis of healthy options to downtown New Orleans | IntheNOLA.com
City Greens has some great plans for the future. For starters, Abhi and his partners will be opening up a second location in Elmwood this coming spring. “We’re excited to be a part of what’s happening in Harahan. That area is seeing exponential growth right now, but people don’t really have access to fresh, convenient food. So we’re really excited to bring this philosophy to that area.”
 
In addition to the new location, City Greens has quadrupled the size of their farm in Florida, and launched a mobile app and loyalty program that allows you to earn money back on your purchase. “Also, we’ve partnered with Saints player Pierre Thomas’ iCan Foundation. His foundation really aligned with our brand as it seeks to fight childhood obesity, learn about what to eat, and how to be active.”
 
And not only is City Greens offering healthy eating options, they’re also concerned about the footprint they’re leaving on the environment. “We've worked with a company called LifeCity. They’ve been an incredible partner of ours in helping us determine our green footprint. Last year, we received a 'Green Natties Award' for being one of the greenest restaurants. That was exciting because we care about being as environmentally conscious as possible. We try to use eco-friendly products and utensils and recycle as much as we can. In the future we hope to incorporate thermal and solar power.”
‘City Greens’ brings an oasis of healthy options to downtown New Orleans | IntheNOLA.com
It’s certainly a pleasure to have an eatery like City Greens in the city. No one's saying that you have to give up the po-boys and seafood platters, but we have to recognize that our bodies need those healthy and fresh ingredients.
 
Abhi concluded, “The migration to New Orleans is not over. Whether they used to live here, are from here, or have never been here, people want to be in New Orleans and that influx is changing the dynamic of what people want and what the tastes and trends really are. But what’s beautiful about this city is that we are able to maintain what makes New Orleans New Orleans while still accepting all of these people with different colors and backgrounds. New Orleans is getting better while still staying true to itself.”
 
For more information about City Greens, visit the website, Facebook, and Twitter.



City Greens
909 Poydras St., Suite 125
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 533-0004

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 November 2014

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