In the world of fast food, there's a distinct divide between what's healthy and what's affordable. Now, Kimbal Musk—brother to Tesla and SpaceX mega-entrepreneur Elon—has unveiled a new restaurant concept that promises make eating well on the cheap a possibility.
While the healthful fast food trend is booming thanks to chains like Sweetgreen and Dig Inn, often these better-for-you options can rack up a hefty bill, compared to lower-cost, drive-thru-friendly options. Musk made it his mission to create a menu that was both healthy and budget-friendly. Enter The Kitchenette, Musk's new restaurant, opening this August.
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The Memphis, Tennessee based grab-and-go business will serve soups, salads, and sandwiches that all share one notable quality: a price tag under $5. "People are overweight and starving at the same time," Musk tells Tech Insider of his inspiration behind the restaurant. "It's a tragedy for both the individual and society," he says of the prevalent high-calorie, low-nutritient fast food.
The restaurant's first location, which will have the look and feel of a coffee shop, will open in the visitor's center of Memphis's 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park. While Musk hopes that the concept will eventually be able to take off nationwide, he says his greater vision is that of a "real food culture," in which people are more connected to each other and their local food. "We've moved toward eating in our cars, our cubicles, and in front of our TVS," he says. "It's very isolating."
In order to combat this isolation and encourage healthier habits, The Kitchenette will encourage its visitors to eat together on their patio or the park's lawn. The kitchen will also source food from local farmers and only cook with organic ingredients, creating a deeper connection to the local food landscape. In order to keep prices low, the restaurant will work with farms to purchase meat and produce at a bulk rate, and to knock down prices based on what ingredients are in season.
Musk, who worked for years in Silicon Valley with his brother developing a maps service called Zip2 and investing in the company that would become PayPal, eventually decided to leave the tech world and enroll in culinary school. It was there that he became passionate about spreading the word of real food. On top of his restaurant project, Musk also launched a nonprofit school gardening program called "Learning Gardens" in 2011 to encourage kids to embrace fruits and veggies from an early age.