“I love the Citrus Olive Oil Cake at the newly opened Tender Greens, in the Irvine Spectrum. With its moist crumb-and-citrus scent, it’s not too sweet nor too heavy.”
2013 Breakout Brands
Tender Greens, a nine-unit “fast-fine” chain based in Los Angeles, is making a name for itself by offering a menu that is local, sustainable, chef-inspired and served over a counter. At the same time, the brand is gaining attention by featuring dishes that offer better value than diners would necessarily find at fine-dining spots with table service.
How Farm-To-Table Restaurant Chain Tender Greens Sprouts Entrepreneurs. The restaurant business is notoriously brutal, but SoCal farm-to-table chain Tender Greens has found a new way to build profitable careers for chefs.
Critic’s Pick: Tender Greens
The menu winners: Two words: big salads. Take that salami and kale at UTC mall’s wamr-feeling Tender Greens. This hefty garden explosion has artisan salami, sliced and tossed with roasted-then-fried fingerling potatoes, slivers of roasted fennel, sweet golden raisins and curly fringed kale tenderized with Parmesan plus a roasted-garlic vinaigrette.
Tender Greens co-founders David Dressler, Erik Oberholtzer, and Matt Lyman met in 2002 at Santa Monica’s Shutters on the Beach, where Dressler was food and beverage director and Lyman and Oberholtzer were chefs, and bonded over their shared frustrations.
Remember Pop Tarts? If you recall those ubiquitous, jam-filled cardboard-textured relics of childhood, they’ve likely left a bad taste in your mouth. But while the execution of the preservative-filled treats was lacking, the idea remains a good one. And that has not escaped the attention of Bay Area chefs. Who are reinventing the classic little hand pies as haute-tarts… at Tender Greens, the fresh, seasonal café that opened in downtown Walnut Creek last year, the haute-tarts range from savory to sweet…
Slow Food – Fast
You can call Tender Greens many things. Chef-driven. Affordable slow food dining. Fast-innovator. But don’t refer to the counter-service chain as the Chipotle of farm-to-fork restaurants. If you do, you might make co=founder Erik Oberholtzer cringe.
The Walnut Creek Book
Top Ten: Before You Leave the Creek
2. Grilled Veggies – Tender Greens
The quality shines in these simply grilled veggies sourced impeccably from sustainable California farms
Tender Greens plots expansion
As a growing number of restaurant concepts claim farm-to-table sensibilities, the question remains how a restaurant chain can achieve scale while maintaining a commitment to food that is local, sustainable and chef-inspired. Tender Greens, a fast-casual chain based in Los Angeles, aims to find out.
Erik Oberholtzer, chef and co-owner of Tender Greens in California, and Jennifer Houston, co-owner of Fresh in Toronto, spill the secrets of divine dressing.
Shared Risks, Shared Rewards
Pete Balistreri was all too happy to make this trade-off. An executive chef at the San Diego location on Tender Greens, a California restaurant chain specializing in sustainable food, Balistreri taught himself to make cured means on the job. Soon the menu began featuring his salumi, and his bosses invested in a $5,000 professional curing chamber.
Tender Greens services up first-class dining
It’s been said you are what you eat. At Tender Greens’ Pasadena location, that means fresh, local, organic when possible, and innovative yet familiar. But most of all, delightful.
Steps to a successful start
Erik Oberholtzer, Matt Lyman and David Dressler met while working in the kitchen at a luxury beach resort in Southern California. Together, they envisioned a restaurant where they could follow their cooking passions and serve organic, farm-fresh, “slow food” dishes at affordable prices.” Once the trio decided to join forces and launch an eatery, they took their time to carefully plan every aspect of the business before taking the plunge.
Best Restaurants 2012 – Critic’s Pick “Best Salad”
A Restaurant for the 99 Percent – Of Chefs
Although they all had a background working in Michelin-starred restaurants, what Erik Oberholtzer, Matt Lyman and David Dressler really craved as “farmer’s market food at a price we could afford,” says Oberholtzer.
Fast Casual Magazine ranked Tender Greens number 33 out of 100 movers and shakers in 2012.
When Rian Brandenburg isn’t serving up gourmet salads at one of his Los Angeles-based Tender Greens restaurants, you’ll find him on a basketball court.
Tender Greens' pop tarts were featured in Diablo Magazine in 101 dishes to try before you die.
2011 Good Food Awards Pickles Winner
Luca Banfi of Tender Greens sources the carrots for his Spiced Baby Carrots from Suzie’s Farms, a local farm in the San Diego area.
“Details, details, details.” That’s the succinct business philosophy espoused by Pete Balistreri, executive chef at Tender Greens, a Liberty Station restaurant that specializes in “artisan, farm-to-table cooking.”
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