I have a friend who drives 12 kilometres to buy cookies. I live the same distance from that spot and were it not for the fact that I’m already in the neighbourhood once a week, I would – without question – commit to the same commute. We gather in whispered huddles to share our paranoia that the restaurant’s staff knows how far away we live and is silently judging us for our unrelenting commitment to obtaining baked goods.
Such is the effect Impact Kitchen has on its loyal customers.
As the fast-casual restaurant (which serves a whole lot more than just cookies) comes up on its one-year anniversary, we caught up with co-founder Josh Broun to learn a bit more about the inspiration behind the launch of Corktown’s beloved healthy eatery and what’s up next.
“The basic food philosophy of Impact Kitchen is: serving minimally-processed, nutrient-rich, real food,” explains Broun.
It’s a concept Broun, a longtime fitness and nutrition professional, arrived at after spending time in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, finding himself in a daily pattern of working out and wandering to a healthy cafe to refuel with food that wouldn’t weigh him down or undo the work he had just done.
“Every time I came back to Toronto I thought, ‘how can I recreate that here,’” Broun recalled of his inspiration. “There should be a place where you can get salads or bowls with high quality protein and then a healthier baked good and coffee, all under one roof. With the support of my amazing business partner Frank [Toskan, founder of MAC Cosmetics)], we started to make Impact Kitchen a reality.”
Since then, the restaurant has been serving not just masterfully addictive cookies, but also colourful salads, protein-packed bowls, smoothies, juices, coffee, and more to the fit-set for three meals a day. Repeat customers swoon over the fact that Impact Kitchen removes the need to think about which menu option fits within their clean eating diet, because every item falls into that category.
he menu is stacked. Breakfast options include the Power Breakfast Bowl (spinach, chorizo, scrambled eggs, salsa fresca, sweet potato and squash mash, avocado, green onion) and the Blue Magik Bowl (almond milk, banana, avocado, blue magik, lemon juice, coconut butter, coconut, granola, chia, blueberries) as well as chia pudding and a superfood bread. Lunch & dinner items (served 11am-close) include salads and bowls with add-on proteins, like Broun’s favorite, Maverick (root vegetable mash, avocado smash, broccoli, salsa fresca, sprouts, hemp seeds, almonds, pesto), Warrior, the most popular item (steamed rice, arugula, pickled onion, micro sprouts, black pitted olives, feta, basil, mint, hummus, EVOO, and balsamic), and Kale Caesar (shredded kale, chickpeas, pumpkin seed parmesan, and vegan cashew caesar dressing).
More than just a restaurant, Impact Kitchen has become a hub for the wellness community who gather at its tables and comfy lounge chairs to catch up, take meetings, and network.
Recognizing the desire of his customers to connect with health-conscious neighbors, Broun launched Impact Nation, a club with free workouts (group runs, bootcamp, yoga) for all customers.
“We have so many customers that come in asking questions about fitness and nutrition and where the best fitness classes are,” explained Broun. “And at the same time, we have so many amazing customers that are leaders in the industry. So it’s been amazing to be able to connect them.”
But Impact Kitchen isn’t stopping there. The next few months will see the launch of the fall/winter menu, a brand new website with Impact news and spotlights on the Impact community members, a newsletter (you can sign up here to be among the first to receive it when it launches), and a blog.
In case that wasn’t enough, Impact Kitchen is also working towards opening its second location a touch further north. Great news for those of us breaking our gas budget for our fuel fix.
To find out more about Impact Kitchen, located at 573 King Street East, click here.