While New York City’s healthy dining scene is growing faster than the time it takes to blend your morning smoothie, newly opened Darrow’s Farm Fresh Takeout is jumping into the mix and serving an unmet need—it’s both a handy, healthy takeout place and a cool downtown spot where you can linger over a delish meal and kale-infused cocktail with your BFF, without spending a fortune.
Darrow’s, on 18th Street between Park Avenue South and Irving Place in Union Square, focuses on fresh, seasonal food as the name suggests.
But it’s got a pan-healthy approach that you might not expect—with smoothies for detoxing, dishes for vegans, Paleos, vegetarians, and just regular old meat-eaters. And they’re created by chefs that impressively hail from the kitchens at Eleven Madison Park and Pure Food and Wine.
The eatery’s only in its third week of business and already has a bustling lunch business and a list of customers requesting delivery, which they plan to start by next month.
Here’s what you need to know about this emerging healthy hotspot before it becomes your new post-spin spot or lunchtime reservation…
“The inspiration for Darrow’s was about giving people lots of options and better alternatives. It’s not all raw or all vegan,” says founder Peter Darrow, a born-and-raised New Yorker, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness before pursuing an MBA in entrepreneurship. “It’s really about integrating health and nutrition and fitness kind of all into one. And giving people something where they feel they have a lot of flexibility.”
For Darrow, the concept didn’t just come out of thin air. “I became vegan about three years ago for personal health reasons. At the time, both my mother and father were diagnosed with cancer, and my father passed away last summer from it. In many ways, this is in honor of him.”
But Darrow doesn’t want his eponymous healthy eatery to be preachy-y about what’s healthy and what’s not. And the menu reflects that kind of culinary open-mindedness.
The centerpiece of the menu are Functional Plates geared towards specific health benefits, including an Energy Plate, Protein Plate, Antioxidant Plate, Detox Plate, and Immunity Plate ($13.75 each). The Stress Relief Plate, for example, comes with comforting smashed sweet potato made with calming chamomile, avocado toast, and rainbow chard. You’ll want it every night after work.
That’s largely because of the talent: Chefs Taylor Thorne, who previously worked at Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges, and David Kupperberg, who hails from Pure Food and Wine (and is no stranger to designing and creating delicious and beautiful plant-based meals) worked with nutritionist Julie Starr to develop the menu.
Darrow says they try to source as much from the local farmers market as possible, and try to be organic.
They serve three meals, starting with simple breakfast items—chia pudding and egg wrap on a gluten-free tortilla—light lunch and dinner options—hummus sandwich, quinoa black burger, frittata sandwich—and organic juices and smoothies. There’s also juice on tap—and did we mention Darrow’s also has a full bar?
While the menu maxes out at $14, it’s still a big bill to get for lunch every day.
The cool, two-story space (which used to be Zen Palate) feels more like a chic, rustic restaurant than a takeaway shop. Like healthy grab-and-go predecessor Hu Kitchen, there’s a counter downstairs and a seating area upstairs.
While there isn’t table service, you can order your meal on one of the iPads at each table, so you don’t have to shlep your meal up the stairs to the dining area. The water comes in mason jars (cute!) and food is served on actual plates, with real silverware. And add that the to the possibility of kale cocktails. Well, it has the makings of Manhattan healthy hotspot already. —Molly Gallagher
Darrow’s Farm Fresh Takeout, 115 East 18th St., btwn Park Avenue and Irving Place, Union Square, www.darrowsnyc.com