Jon Rollo, CEO and Commander-in-Leaf of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is dedicated to bringing natural, organic farm-to-table everyday eating to the masses through his gourmet fast-casual dining experiences.
Greenleaf’s fans include Oprah, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Channing Tatum, Lea Michelle, and more. It is THE healthy must-visit spot in L.A. Here is what Jon had to say about his healthy cocktail menus and check out his tips for bartenders interested in increasing their healthy habits behind the bar.
Tell us about the “fast-casual” concept.
Fast-casual had typically been defined as a restaurant that does not offer full service but aims to provide food that is higher quality than fast food establishments. Greeleaf pushes that definition into what we light-heartedly call “gourmet casual.” Seen as pioneers of the health-focused fast-casual movement, Greenleaf has continued to push the healthy eating envelope with the introduction of each of their new restaurant locations, by offering sophisticated and innovative menus, an elevated dining atmosphere, comprehensive bar menus and custom catering menus. Even as other health-focused chains begin to proliferate in the fast-casual restaurant world, Greenleaf is known to set the standard in quality of product, dedication to creativity, customer service and guest loyalty.
Talk to us about your cocktail menus.
Our ethos has always been Fresh. Local. Healthy. We strive to provide the highest quality, fresh ingredients for our restaurants and our bars. We use only fresh pressed juices, fruits and vegetables, homemade agave syrups, and natural ingredients.
How do you bring the concept of farm to table to behind the bar?
Our philosophy of using locally sourced, clean and natural ingredients carries into our bar program. We use fresh fruit and vegetables whenever we can.
In what ways can we drink in a more “healthy” way?
Staying hydrating and eating a healthy meal before drinking. Opt for drinks with less sugary ingredients, our Skinny Margarita is one of our best sellers.
How can bartenders mix up more “healthy” drinks?
Replacing high sugar and calorie syrups and mixers with fresh juices and homemade agave syrups creates cleaner and healthier cocktails.
What are some of the best (most healthy/nutritious) ingredients we can add to our cocktails?· Activated charcoal lushes out toxins and chemicals. Helps prevent hangovers.
Cucumber/Cucumber Juice – hydrating and an excellent source of vitamin K, flushes out toxins, supplies skin friendly minerals and good for muscles.
Bee Pollen – It is considered one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods as it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. Bee-gathered pollens are rich in proteins (approximately 40% protein), free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid.
What are 3 simple tips for bartenders to improve their health?
1. Bartending is a physically demanding job – exercise and stretching is key to energy and preventing back and arms pains that undoubtedly come with the job.
2. Preparing quick healthy snacks ahead of time so you are less likely to reach for the high calorie, energy sapping bar menu appetizers. Protein drinks are easy and quick to provide nutrition and energy in the middle of a shift. Fueling yourself with a healthy meal before your shift will provide energy to get through the rush.
3. SLEEP! While the schedule may be different due to the hours, routine sleep is vital to staying healthy.
What are some simple tips to help bartenders promote “wellness” in their bars?
Use fresh juices and all natural ingredients.
Eating a well-balanced healthy meal alongside a great cocktail.
Offer creative craft cocktails that feature lower calorie, healthier ingredients. Healthy does not have to equal boring!
Tell us about the farm-to-table concept for your Greenleaf restaurants.
Greenleaf promotes a healthy and clean lifestyle by providing an affordable, fast-casual dining experience that features the freshest ingredients available every day. Our food allows you to choose to be as healthy as you want to be without sacrificing flavor and great taste. We offer the finest in fresh, organic, all natural, and locally grown products, while giving you the ability to make clean and healthy lifestyle choices.
Following the success of the original outpost in Beverly Hills, in 2008, as Commander-in-Leaf, I continued to open Greenleaf locations in Century City in 2010 for the busy professionals in Los Angeles’ corporate hub; Costa Mesa in 2012, boasting the largest location yet with a full bar (expanded in 2015), garden courtyard, and on-site gardens; and a fourth outpost at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection in 2013.
Debuting in 2015, Greenleaf Hollywood – located at the heart of Hollywood and Argyle – is the first of this elevated Greenleaf concept. The Hollywood location has a larger layout, a full bar, tableside cocktail service, and abundant indoor/outdoor seating including a fire pit and private dining room. Following the success of the elevated concept, Greenleaf renovated the 17th Costa Mesa location to include a full bar. Highlights of the revitalized indoor space include bar seating for 12, communal table seating for eight and additional smaller tables for a more intimate dining experience. It is fully equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual capabilities, making it ideal for private celebrations, watching sporting events, and a fun night out.
Opening on the renowned Abbot Kinney was the perfect way to start 2016. Greenleaf Venice boasts a light and luxe interior with a patio that feels like a garden conservatory. The cocktail menu focuses on revitalization and natural ingredients, perfect for the Venice locals.
Glendale, just opened this September, 2016, is located across from the Americana on Brand. It’s the perfect place to visit for a glass of wine after a day of shopping or for a quick lunch break. Offering brunch, lunch, dinner, wine & beer, catering and delivery, it’s got something for everyone!