Think back to when the words “gluten-free” and “vegan” weren’t mentioned on almost every restaurant menu in town. That’s when chef Christopher Slawson started developing his passion for a healthy lifestyle.
As a vegetarian with a strong interest in clean eating, opening a restaurant that served healthy food went hand-in-hand with his way of life—and it was also an approach that South Florida lacked at the time. “There wasn’t even a restaurant serving an organic salad, or a vegan option, or gluten-free,” Slawson says, recalling nearly a decade ago when the local food scene was a bit behind.
While visiting Palm Beach Gardens, he and his uncle, Richard Slawson, decided to test the market since the concept worked in places like California. “We felt there was a demand and decided to take a risk,” Slawson says. “I knew the food worked. I’ve seen it work elsewhere and knew I could execute it.”
Christopher’s Kitchen officially made its debut in 2011 in the Plaza at Midtown in Palm Beach Gardens, serving an array of plant-based foods. Everything on the menu is 100-percent vegan and offers a selection of gluten-free items as well.
But that’s not to say you have to adopt a vegan lifestyle to enjoy the cuisine. “I’ve always believed in the menu being accessible for people who are not vegan or vegetarian, because I want to capture the biggest audience that I can,” Slawson says.
The dishes are inspired by everyday menu items people are familiar with. Think healthier versions of macaroni and cheese, pizza and pad Thai. The restaurant places an emphasis on vegetables, so don’t expect to eat modified, conventional soy products. Christopher’s Kitchen keeps it simple.
The arrival of the restaurant’s new menu brings diverse flavors to the restaurant, but there are plenty of signatures like the CK Tacos, which are a raw version of a taco stuffed with spiced walnut taco meat. It’s handmade with vegetable tortillas and topped with lettuce, cabbage, guacamole, salsa, cashew cheese and cilantro.
New menu items include Spicy Kung Pao Beets in a chickpea miso ginger sauce and the Jackfruit Roll (roasted jackfruit, asparagus, tomato, cucumber, mixed greens, zucchini bacon, cashew cheese, almond Thai sauce and ponzu). Plus, a selection of house-made desserts, like ice cream made with raw coconut and fresh cashews, are available.
Guests who are in need of a grab-and-go option can check out the market that opens daily at 9 a.m. to purchase juices, acai bowls, bagels and more.
The Christopher’s Kitchen team recently opened up a sister company, Meraki Juice Kitchen, serving similar plant-based products but in a take-out setting. It’s also home to The Meraki Juice Cleanse, 100-percent organic, raw (unpasteurized), cold-pressed juice made from fruits and vegetables.
Christopher’s Kitchen, 4783 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens / 561.318.6191 / christopherskitchenfl.com