The healthy fast-casual eatery is spreading across Dallas at a mind-boggling rate. And really, it's not the worst thing in the world — the American diet is pretty atrocious, and considering that Dallas spends more money on eating out than any city in the U.S., it couldn't hurt for a few of those meals to be a bit healthier.
The latest addition to the fit fast-casual scene is Flower Child, open now in Inwood Plaza.
"Inspired by its simple mission to deliver healthy food for a happy world, the restaurant offers convenient, nutritious food in a modern bohemian setting," its press release says.
The second restaurant brand from restaurateur Sam Fox, who is also behind True Food Kitchen in Preston Center, the 4,523-square-foot spot bills itself as "gluten-lite," with both glutenous and gluten-free items available from a menu that also leans heavily on organic produce and dishes that can easily accommodate both vegetarians and vegans.
Step foot into the bright, airy restaurant and hop in line to order food that will be delivered to your table when it's ready. Right next to the door, a basket marked "yoga mat parking" was filled with colorful mats. This restaurant definitely knows its target audience.
And its target audience was pretty much what you'd expect. My dining partner grabbed a table near the windows while awaiting my arrival and, despite a plethora of open tables, was approached by two women who requested that she move. Why? Because they wanted to sit by the window, that's why.
After our table was moved a second time — away from the windows once again — we sat down to flavorful bowls stacked high with fresh veggies and salmon for protein. If you're vegetarian or vegan, you can eat at Flower Child for pretty cheap — salads are $8 and bowls are $9. But when you add any protein — chicken, salmon, grass-fed steak, even organic non-GMO tofu — the prices jump into the $12-$16 range. During our recent lunch, one Thai cashew quinoa bowl with salmon ($16), a grains and greens salad with salmon ($15) and a Mason jar of draught kombucha ($6) set us back $40.
Eating healthy will hit your wallet harder no matter where you eat, and Flower Child is not an exception. But judging by the neighborhood and the crowd, decked out in expensive athleisure-wear with pricey handbags and that post-barre class glow, these prices are pretty on par for the clientele. Then again, if Flower Child's dishes like Indian-spiced cauliflower and clementine and organic apple salad inspire someone to cook healthier at home, maybe dropping $40 on lunch for two isn't such a bad thing every once in awhile.
On the beverage menu, you'll find draught cold-brew ($3.50), iced teas like Japanese mango sencha ($3.50), a selection of loose-leaf teas and a "daily juice" ($6.50), along with a small selection of local beer ($5) and organic wine ($6-7 for 6-ounce pours and $8-9 for 8-ounce). Whole grain wraps are $10 to $13, and you can mix-and-match sides, like red chili-glazed sweet potato and spicy Japanese eggplant, for $4 to $9. There's also a "healthy kids" menu where kids 12 and under can pick a protein and two sides for $6.50, which is certainly reasonable.
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On our first visit, the dishes were fresh and flavorful, not mind-boggling in any sense, but on a day when you're trying to eat clean, this food more than does the trick. The Thai cashew quinoa bowl, while tasty, didn't have much of a Thai flavor outside of the occasional Thai basil leaf, but there's not much to complain about when you've got a bowl filled with snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini and fresh herbs.
We love to see more quick, healthy options around Dallas, but as anyone with a dietary restriction knows, it's never inexpensive to eat clean. That certainly doesn't make Flower Child the bad guy; sourcing hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and organic produce ain't cheap, though the restaurant tries to keep costs down by buying organic using the Dirty Dozen list, which suggests going organic for specific items, like spinach and apples, that are believed to be "most-contaminated." There's debate as to whether the Dirty Dozen list is essentially a health food wives' tale, but by not adhering strictly to organic produce, restaurants are able to keep prices down while still offering organic options.
If you're seeking healthy fare in a hurry (though the current long lines at Flower Child may slow things down a bit) this new restaurant is a nice spot to visit. Flower Child's mission is "to deliver healthy food for a happy world," and it's a mission we can get behind — but for us, the world will get much happier when fresh, healthy food becomes as affordable as a Big Mac. Unfortunately, our food system is a long way away from that.
Flower Child, 5450 W. Lovers Lane