Grabbing a quick and healthy meal is no longer a craze, it’s a permanent way of life.Â This is apparent as traditional fast food establishments are being taken over in numbers by fresh and whole food alternatives.Â In fact, many are taking over the spaces of now defunct go-to spots. Take Jamba Juice replacing Ben & Jerry’s in Dupont Circle.Â Not that we don’t love us some over the top percentage in fat (which reminds me, when I was at Penn State, the world-famous “The Creamery” ice cream which was sold on campus, had much fat per scoop, it was illegal to sell on grocery shelves off campus…so my 20 lbs weren’t just due to pizza and beer, thank you), but we are educated Americans who care about our colon, our heart, our liver, our blood, our lungs.Â This is 2012. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. It all adds up.
Enter the Protein Bar.Â Based in Chicago, the Protein Bar was founded by a reformed Southern Californian who earned his MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and who now resides in the Windy City. Â Matt Matros is the bright eyed brilliant mind and creator not to mention the picture of perfect non-carb eating health.Â Once a “fat kid” (he lost 60 lbs in 2001) Matros changed his life by running half marathons and triathlons, and believe it or not, he spent years in the over-processed food business as a brand manager for Kraft Foods. Oh the irony! Or, how the universe has a plan …
I had the opportunity to sit next to him at a dinner last week at Carmine’s hosted by Jill Collins, which included Stephen Ball, Katherine Kennedy and part of the Protein Bar’s team, Chef Phil Fox and Operating Partner Mike Ganino.Â While we will do a feature profile in Matros in the future, it was a pleasure to talk with the gents about their reasons for choosing DC as a market even before LA.Â They said DC has smart, educated people, who want to and are making good decisions about their meals, health, lifestyles.Â This is a vibrant, energetic city and it’s an exciting time to be here.Â The first of the two local announced locations will be in the Gallery Place / Verizon Center neighborhood, the second is slated for bustling ever changing Arlington’s Ballston section.
Chicago is known to be a smart town with an excellent food, art, sports, education, fashion and cultural scene and it is a compliment to Washington that these guys turned east versus west.Â They know where they are needed.Â And don’t let the name of the place scare you. It’s not a grab and go protein bar cafe, they make actual meals here.Â Breakfast, blended healthy drinks, salads, chilis, bar-itos, side dishes, even “bowls” filled with quinoa, or chicken, spinach, and pesto, or vegan options and definitely vegetarian choices, the Protein Bar menu has something for everyone, even those used to downing
fatty less healthy foods.Â The team refuses to sacrifice flavor for health, otherwise, who would return?Â And thankfully, the portions aren’t ridiculously huge, versus what most places plant in your face.
398 7th St. NW and 800 N. Glebe coming soon.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.