On Friday, Union Square welcomed a new eatery that bills its fare as “food for humans.” Hu Kitchen, at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street, is making the point that we homo sapiens, who convert the food we digest into healthy bodies, aren’t meant for chemical-laced pretend foods in packages.
“We basically have a more primitive way of eating that we like to call pre-industrial and pre-agrarian,” says former real estate developer Jordan Brown, who opened Hu Kitchen with his sister, Jessica Karp.
Heady concept translated: Hu Kitchen, stands for Human Kitchen, and borrows from both the Paleo and raw-vegan worlds. But it’s really about a healthy whole foods menu, which is expansive and includes made-to-order breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, fresh-pressed juices, organic coffee, and healthy grocery items.
It’s like the smart, attractive child of Dig Inn and Organic Avenue.
We stopped by five hours after the doors opened to get a first look. Here’s what you’ll find inside…. —Lisa Elaine Held
Hu Kitchen, 78 Fifth Avenue, btwn 13th and 14th Streets, www.hukitchen.com
(Photos: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good)
“A lot of thought went into the design,” Brown says. And it shows. The space has gorgeous high ceilings and the vibe is industrial-meets-earthy, with metallic light fixtures hanging above stacked logs and tree-trunk table tops. In a previous life the space belonged to East West Books.
Hu Kitchen’s Liquids Bar serves fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, home-made sodas, organic coffee, and organic wine and beer.
The Mashbar borrows from the yogurt bar concept, except instead of froyo, the base of your snack might be chia seed pudding or granola. Then, you choose toppings like goji berries, spicy cashews, and almond butter. “The concept came about from the way I personally snack,” says Brown. “Rather than eat a nutrition bar, which is usually a glorified candy bar, I’ll throw together some almond butter, cacao nibs, and dried fruit, and call it mash.'”
The made-to-order meal area features an open kitchen and lots of choices. Grass-fed beef, lentil, and salmon burgers. Asian slaw, grilled vegetable, and toasted beet salads. Quinoa bowls with add-ons like organic chicken, turkey, and Union Square Market veggies. And much, much, more. You can see the second-floor lofted seating area above it.
If you’re in a rush, Hu offers packaged sandwiches, salads, and wraps, and bottled juices to go.
Hu sells packaged goods like organic coffee, kale chips, and its own chocolate bars made with 72% cacao and just a touch of coconut sugar. Who could resist a bar that healthy, with almond butter and puffed quinoa added in?