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Diet Brand Whole30 Opens its First Delivery-Only Restaurant in Chicago

The company, partnered with Lettuce Entertain You and GrubHub, claims to provide “life-changing results.”

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A plate of baked chicken tikka masala skewers with roasted vegetables, Bombay cashew rice, and mango mustard seed chutney
Delivery-only collaboration Whole30 Delivered is now available online.
Lindsay Widdel [Official Photo]

Popular diet company Whole30 announced a collaboration with local restaurant group behemoth Lettuce Entertain You and nationwide food delivery business Grubhub to create the first Whole30 delivery-only restaurant, according to a news release. Whole30 Delivered, offering items that adhere to its comprehensive rules, is now live and customers can place orders online. Diners can expect meals straight out of LEYE’s kitchens.

Touted as a “30-day dietary reset chosen by millions for stunning, life-changing results,” Whole30 Delivered’s dishes focus on what representatives call “unprocessed” foods. They include lunch and dinner options like spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs with tomato marinara and cashew-garlic “parmesan,” and a Thai chicken coconut curry soup (Amish chicken breast, shiitakes, spinach, lemongrass, green scallion).

The Whole30 program forbids “added sugar” (artificial or natural), all alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, or additives like carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites. Baked goods and unspecified “junk foods” are also verboten, even if they are made with Whole30-compliant ingredients. “Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change,” the website reads.

Whole30 represents itself as a habit-changing “reset” rather than a weight-loss plan, but critics often point to the potentially harmful outcomes that come from diet restriction, or avoiding significant food categories, noting that the program’s stringent requirements are difficult to maintain over time. References to guilt-centric ideas of “cheat days” and “junk food” tend to invoke the familiar language of diet culture and its kissing cousins, “wellness” and “clean eating.”

Health food, vegetarian, and vegan restaurants are likely familiar to most locals, but diet-specific restaurants are a relative rarity in Chicago. Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon opened in-store restaurant Fuel last month, and executive chef Paul Larson previously told Eater that he’s keen to keep the menu on-trend with the latest diet fads, including keto, paleo, and Whole30.

Lettuce Entertain You was at the forefront of virtual restaurants in Chicago beginning in March 2017 with the opening of Seasides, followed by the reconcept of critically-acclaimed fine-dining restaurant Intro into temporary spot Lucky Dumpling, as well as Naoki Fried Chicken. These “cloud kitchens” are increasingly popular due to their low overhead and freedom from a brick-and-mortar dining room.

The country’s largest food delivery provider, GrubHub currently operates in more than 2,400 U.S. cities and London, according to a news release. The company faced a class-action lawsuit in May that alleged it surreptitiously overcharged restaurant partners by charging for non-order calls, customer complaints, and questions.

The Whole30 Delivered menu is now available for delivery online. Crain’s first reported news of the remote kitchen’s debut.