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Sage Wellness Consulting, LLC 999 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048 August 2010

Table of Contents


Introduction About “The Lunch List” About Sage Wellness Wellness Lingo

The List

The Not-So Standards


Lemonade Mendocino Farms Tiara Café Urth Café Kachi Deli Café On Spring Groundworks Coffee

Cultural Cuisine Shojin Saffron

Dining With “The Boss” Bottega Louie

Food Truck Fare Gastrobus Green Truck

Sweets & Treats 21 Choices Frozen Yogurt Babycakes

About “The Lunch List” For all of its abundant culinary creativity and large population of self-proclaimed foodies, Los Angeles seems to be lacking in healthy, local lunches—Downtown, at least. While much of LA grapples with indecision over a plethora of organic, locavore cafés to fuel their workdays, the Downtown scene is hardly as rich in organic options. Yet, they do exist! Downtown LA certainly offers some excellent office lunch spots, you just need to know where to look— that’s why we created this guide. Each restaurant included in our all-star lunch guide is considered by the following criteria:

Organic Locally Sourced Healthy

Special-Diet Friendly Community Conscious Socially Responsible

If not all menu items are organic or local, then most are, and are always purchased locally and organic when available. “Special-diet” means that whether vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, there’s an option diners of all diets. Community conscious and socially responsible? Yes, we like our restaurants to be engaged in local events and aware of the environment, just like we are in our own kitchens. And healthy—these restaurants’ menus offer nutritious, wholesome food that does more than just get you through the workday—it facilitates a higher state of wellbeing and upholds your commitment to health. Now that’s delicious!

About Sage Wellness


Sage Wellness is here to help you live well! We are a Los Angeles-based corporate-wellness company that creates customized, holistic educational programs and offers oneon-one health counseling services at your company location. This unique combination provides the most effective results in reducing benefits costs and absenteeism, while increasing employee engagement, productivity and general well being.


Sage Wellness is committed to providing customized, holistic, educational programs to support businesses and their employees in becoming more healthy, vibrant and productive. From specialized wellness programs with businesses to online resources like recipes and local events, our dedication to wellness extends beyond our client base— we love to live well and share our knowledge to encourage healthy living for all.

Wellness Lingo Organic: foods are made according to certain production standards—farmed without the use of pesticides, antibiotics or genetically altered organisms Sustainable: in the context of food, Food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage for the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities Local: food that is grown in a local area, supporting a local economy Vegan: excludes the consumption of animal or dairy products or by-product in diet, or sometimes in lifestyle Raw: unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above 115° F Gluten Free: a diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals: wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent Macrobiotic: emphasizes locally grown whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seaweed, fermented soy products, and fruit, combined into meals according to the principle of balance, yin and yang


Pricing Key

This is the approximate average cost for the price of lunch, including drink, + tax + tip for one person. $ - Under $10 $$ - $11 to $30 $$$ - $31 to $60



City National Plaza 505 S Flower St Los Angeles, CA 90071 213.488.0299

MOCA 250 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90012 213.628.0200

Hours: Mon-Fri 7 am - 2:30 pm (S Flower) Mon-Tue, Fri 11 am - 2:30 pm (S Grand) Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Garage Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: Some options Vegetarian: Many options Local: When possible

Lemonade is a modern twist on a nostalgic concept—part lemonade stand, part grade-school cafeteria. For the working set, that is. Come lunchtime, grab a tray and slide it down the counter to examine a plethora of healthily, gourmet takes on favorite dishes, and creative options abound. Don’t fret over culinary indecision—samples are ample, and staff is always knowledgeable. With locations throughout LA, Lemonade has definitely established itself as a favorite lunch spot of Angelenos for its ever-changing variety of fantastically fresh options that are sure to please any lunch group. Even if you make it your daily lunch spot, Lemonade’s menu will never get boring—with daily specials, a seasonal menu, and too many options to ever exhaust, it’s perfect for a light lunch or hearty meal, made easy by portioned sizes. With countless salad, sandwich, soup, pot roast, land & sea, lemonade, and bakery options, it’s virtually impossible to not find at least 10 things you’ll want to eat here! The marketplace salad combinations were creative, refreshingly unique lunch options that all feature high quality ingredients, never “overdone,” preserving the garden-fresh quality of the food. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Lemonade also has quite the selection of cupcakes, cookies, pies, cakes, and more! As long as you get in a run before work…

Mendocino Farms

California Plaza 300 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90071 213.620.1114

Citibank Building 444 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071 213.627.3262

Hours: 11:00am-3:00pm Mon-Fri (S Grand) 11:00am-7:15pm Mon-Fri (S Flower) Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes, all day Price Range: $-$$ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: Some options Vegetarian: Many options Local: Mostly; whenever possible

It’s difficult for a sandwich and salad shop to differentiate itself as a standout against the multitude of offerings in LA. But Mendocino Farms has much more to it than its scrumptious sandwiches, paninis, wraps, salads, and soups—organic, local sources and community involvement put more on the menu. Their approach is different from the average deli—they promote eating seasonally, locally, and love to share knowledge about incorporating local produce in whole food everyday. The staff is knowledgeable about local Farmer's Markets, and certainly had opinions about their favorites on the menu, which are appreciated because their artisan sandwich menu may have you in option-overload! On top of vegetarian-friendly fare, Mendocino has a broad offering of meats (including fish and seafood), vegan options, an inventive seasonal menu, and a long list of hearty salads to accompany a sandwich or eat as a light meal alone, and all-natural sodas to keep it classic deli-style. Yes, the menu has options for all and certainly aims to please, but most impressive is the execution—the local freshness really makes a delicious difference! And if they don’t have exactly what you want, cooks are open to perfect-sandwich customization. Stray from your usual chain sandwiches; you don’t need a foot-long when you can enjoy a wholesome, natural creation at Mendocino Farms.

Tiara Café

127 E 9th St Los Angeles, CA 90015 213.623.3663

Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am - 3 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $$ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Many options Local: Mostly; whenever possible

This is one of those places that somehow remains a hidden gem, a secret smack in the middle of the Fashion District on 9th and Los Angeles streets. One thing that’s not a secret—Tiara’s commitment to healthy, fresh, local food that still embraces creative cuisine. From the signature Tiara Café seitan salad to ahi tuna rice paper wraps to Napa lamb ragout, Tiara has it all by means of meat, or lack thereof. All dishes are seasonally inspired, locally sourced when possible, and prepared with the utmost consideration to healthy eating. Additionally, a marketplace boasts a plethora of meals and snacks that are ready to go, as well as gourmet products to inspire your own cooking at home. Innovative, inclusive to all diets, and in a welcoming atmosphere, Tiara is a guaranteed hit for a lunch downtown.

Urth Caffé

451 S Hewitt St Los Angeles, CA 90013 213.797.4534

Hours: Mon-Thu, Sun 6:30 am-10 pm Fri-Sat 6:30 am-11 pm Delivery: Yes, Mon- Fri 11am-2:30pm & 5:30pm-9pm Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $$ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: Free Vegan: Options, esp. baked goods Vegetarian: Many options Local: Salads and greens

Urth Café is a Los Angeles institution—with locations from Santa Monica to Downtown, it has established itself as reliably the best healthy, fresh, California fare in our city. So expect constant crowds, but the food and coffee is most definitely worth the wait, or call ahead if you’re in a rush. There is a fantastic breadth of offerings; from multi-grain waffles topped with fresh fruit to portabello paninis to grilled chicken quesadillas. You’ll never run out of delicious options to try at Urth, but you’ll probably soon find a favorite! Healthy options and quality are top-tier, all items are prepared with the best and freshest ingredients. Well, the tiramisu, cheesecakes, and pies might not be as healthy, but they’re certainly all-natural and delicious!

Kachi Deli Café

1001 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90017 213.482.4898

Hours: Mon-Fri 7 am - 5 pm Delivery: Yes Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Small, not as good for Groups Wi-Fi: Free Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Many options Local: Some ingredients, when possible

Healthy, fresh fare in downtown LA is a dime a dozen. Make it affordable, more creative than your average deli menu, primarily local and organic and available to grab and go? We're fans! Fresh and delicious paninis, wraps, sandwiches and salads comprise the lunch menu here, with traditional choices like caprese panini to Argentinian wraps with chimichurri—a decidedly more global menu than most delis. If you want to tweak an order, the staff is more than happy to amend the menu to fit your tastes, a rare but valuable flexibility. Also very impressive are their fresh squeezed juices—not only are they delicious blends, but also at $4 a pop, that's half of what you'd pay anywhere else in LA! Ingredients are local when in season, and organic whenever possible, which is nearly always. Breakfast is also offered, with healthy choices like oatmeal with fruit and bagel with lox. A good place to grab a quick lunch to go, and fresh Argentinean alfajores at the register? A perfect finale!

On Spring

Los Angeles Historic State Park 1279 N. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

Hours: Mon-Fri 7 am – 3 pm Sat 10 am – 3 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes (through Urban Green) Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street & Lot Parking Good for Groups, all outdoor seating and in a park for picnics of any size Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Options Local: All within a 100 mile radius of LA

Never has food from a shack been this healthy! Local, organic, and not only sustainably grown, but an entirely sustainable business, On Spring serves up fabulously fresh food right at the entrance to LA Historic State Park. If you need a little fresh air and a break from the office, head out to On Spring and enjoy lunch in the sunshine, at a picnic table or on the grass at the park. Creative cuisine ranges from impossibly fresh paninis like roasted chicken or caprese (really, the basil and tomatoes are grown right there!) to raw, vegan offerings like kale salad, lentil salad, or ginger carrot soup. On top of delicious lunch fare, On Spring is a community-oriented operation—the prices are rock bottom, meaning they’re just high enough to keep the place in business, letting you reap the benefits of a bountiful, but cheap, lunch. On-site gardening classes were offered this summer and a bike repair-shop is in the works, so be sure to check out what else is cooking at On Spring when you visit.

Groundwork Coffee

108 W 2nd St Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 620-9668

Hours: Mon-Fri 6 am - 6 pm Sat 8 am – 3 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: No Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Indoor & outdoor seating is good for Groups Wi-Fi: Free Vegan: Options, esp. bakery Vegetarian: Many options Local: Most food is baked in-house or nearby; ingredients are local when possible; all organic coffee

Groundwork Coffee Company’s great location downtown features spacious cafe seating indoors and out, as well as ample workspace with free wi-fi. Excellent already, but it doesn’t stop there: Groundworks’ Coffee is absolutely delicious, and mostly fair trade and all organic to boot. They also offer an extensive, exotic tea selection. The prices are not the usual “organic overpriced,” but thankfully quite low for a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the workday. Also offered are affordable, fresh breakfast and lunch items like breakfast sandwiches (all day!), bagels, salads and sandwiches, most for under $5. Highly recommended for excellent coffee, and that’s coming from a picky coffee snob! Other locations include Hollywood and Venice, so you can enjoy organic, affordable coffee made locally in LA from a company committed to sustainable business practices and community involvement– so you’re getting far more than just a great cup o’ Joe!


Little Tokyo Shopping Center 333 S Alameda St, Ste 310 Los Angeles, CA 90013   213.617.0305  

Hours: Mon-Thu 5:30 pm - 10 pm Wed-Fri 11:30 am - 2:30 pm Fri 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm Sat 12 pm - 10:30 pm Sun 12 pm - 10 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: No Price Range: $$ Accepts Credit Cards Garage Parking (free w/ validation) Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: All Vegetarian: All Local: Mostly; whenever possible

A diamond in the Korean Mall, Shojin is impressive as a sushi and Japanese restaurant alone. Yet, it brings even more to the table as a vegan, allorganic, macrobiotic establishment amidst the multitudes of “healthy” sushi spots in LA. While the initial idea of vegan sushi seems plain boring, Shojin dishes up creative, flavorful rolls that rival traditional seafood rolls—and there’s no risk of any fishy mercury! Crunchy pumpkin croquettes, and the best vegan dragon roll, with shitake and seitan in lieu of fish. From rolls to fresh salads, Asian soups, and eclectic entrees, the meat will not be missed at this thoughtful, renowned, and friendly vegan hotspot. Lunch is available only Wednesday through Sunday, so this is a fantastic spot for dinner as well.


505 S Flower St B Level, #250 Los Angeles, CA 90071 213.488.9754

Hours: Mon-Fri 11 am - 4 pm Delivery: Yes Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Garage Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Options

Saffon’s tagline “Fast. Fresh. Indian.” pretty much sums it up. If you need a quick (but flavorful and healthy) lunch that’s a change from the same ol’ sandwich, Saffron is your place. Like a “streamlined” Indian restaurant, Saffron offers three popular types of curry dishes with chicken or tofu, your choice of rice or salad, and a few sides like tasty samosas and addicting naan. You can watch the naan being made while you order, and at just $0.95 for two pieces, it can’t be beat. While there aren’t many choices, it’s much easier to choose than from an extensive, confusing full Indian menu! We love authentic Indian food, and Saffron definitely measures up in quality, but exceeds in freshness, speed, and affordability.

Bottega Louie

700 S Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90017 866.418.9162

Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30 am - 11 pm Sat 11 am - 11 pm Sun 9 am - 11 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: No Price Range: $$-$$$ Accepts Credit Cards Street, Garage, Valet, Private Lot, Validated Parking Good for Groups Wi-Fi: No Vegan: Few options, with amendments to menu Vegetarian: Options Other: In-season organic fruits in the marketplace

Bottega Louie is quite a standout—from the divinely decorated palatial interiors to the perfectly crisp Neopolitan style pizzas, there definitely isn’t another spot like this downtown. This isn’t exactly a “health food joint,” but the dishes focus on whole, fresh food that fills both your appetite and diet needs. If you’d rather grab something to go, the market boasts a vast array of the best deli food you can take back to your desk, stocks organic local fruits, and offers amazing macaroons (or so we’ve heard!). Open early for a business breakfast meeting, or later for a lunch date, the menu consists of a vast array of simple salads, small plates, and authentically Italian entrees with creative, healthier twists.

The Gastrobus

Twitter: @thegastrobus 310.590.8801

Hours: Sun 9 am – 2 pm @ Los Feliz Farmer’s Market Mon-Sat times and locations vary, check website Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Many options Local: Mostly; whenever possible

It may be fast, but this is no fast food—The Gastrobus serves up delicious fare straight from the farmer’s market. Really, every Sunday at the Los Feliz Farmer’s Market, they buy produce and create scrumptious Sunday bites in a small plates-style menu from whatever is fresh and best at the market, taking the locally-sourced restaurant to a new level. During the rest of the week, The Gastrobus can be found everywhere from UCLA to USC, serving up neighborhood cult favorites like sweet potato fries, pulled pork sandwich with pickled red onion and garlic aioli, or farm-fresh eggs for brunch on Sundays. With vegetarian options abound, this family-owned and operated bus is your ticket to a local and flavorful lunch.

Green Truck

Twitter: @Green_Truck 310.204.0477

Hours: Mon-Wed 9 am - 6 pm Thu-Sat 9 am - 2:30 am Sun 9 am - 5 pm Delivery: Yes (corporate breakfast/lunch drop-off) Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Vegan: Options Vegetarian: Many options Local: Whenever possible; all organic

Green Truck, green food, green practice—everything about the fleet of Green Trucks is environmentally (and nutritionally) responsible. The trucks run on recycled vegetable oil to deliver some of the best lunches (on wheels or not) in LA. Their signature “Mother Trucker” vegan burger is a definite winner, as is the falafel in a spinach wrap and free-range chicken wrap with quinoa and black beans. There’s always an exciting special in the mix, depending on seasonal ingredients, but vegan and vegetarians will delight in the guaranteed veggie-friendly menu. Green means green, though, so prices are definitely a bit higher than your average food truck fare—more like $7-12 for a meal. But we’ve found Green Truck’s food to be better than most lunch spots around, so don’t let the price tag from “truck food” deter you! Follow them on Twitter to keep up with their ever-changing locations, or even to request a stop at your office building.

21 Choices

3225 S Hoover St Los Angeles, CA 90007 213.745.9421

Hours: Mon-Sun 11 am - 11 pm Delivery: No Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street & Lot Parking Good for Groups Vegan: No Vegetarian: All Local: Fruit is organic and local when possible

There may be a frozen yogurt joint on nearly every corner in LA, but none measure up to the excellence of 21 Choices. They set themselves above the regular, artificially “healthy” fro yo by using ingredients like organic fruits, omega-3 rich flax seeds, and zero artificial colorings or flavorings. Like they say, it’s not only “not bad for you–it’s actually good for you!” And the enthusiastically friendly staff is happy to put up with any indecisiveness you may suffer over the countless mix-ins, including specials like red-velvet cake and fresh golden raspberries. With new flavors posted on daily, 21 Choices is sure to be your next healthy addiction!


130 E 6th Street Los Angeles, CA 90014 213.623.5555

Hours: Mon 12 pm - 6 pm Tue-Sat 10 am - 10 pm Sun 10 am - 6 pm Delivery: Yes, check online menu Take-out: Yes Catering: Yes Price Range: $ Accepts Credit Cards Street Parking Small, not as good for Groups Vegan: All Vegetarian: All Other: refined sugar-free (most sweetened with agave syrup), gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, Casein-free, egg-free, and certified Kosher

These all-natural, scrumptious cupcakes are not just for the gluten-free, vegan crowd. Made with conscientious care and the best ingredients, Babycakes’ goodies are far superior to your usual sugar-headache-inducing cupcakes. With all the delicious, frosted treats staring at you from behind the glass, it’s a good thing the staff is so knowledgeable about their delicious products. The cashiers are very helpful in deciding which of your many choices would be best, in either gluten-free or spelt formula. Also, they offer organic Stumptown coffee, a fantastic accompaniment to a cupcake or baked doughnut. Unique decor makes the place special and inviting, reminiscent of its NYC roots just like a well-curated city café. Excellent atmosphere and cordial staff aside, the cupcakes alone would easily earn a rave review. Not too sweet, not too “cakey,” they taste natural and are loved by vegans and non-vegans alike! Highly recommended as a downtown snack and coffee spot for a midday meetup, or just a quick break from the office for a well-deserved treat.

The Downtown LA Lunch List  
The Downtown LA Lunch List  

For all of its abundant culinary creativity and large population of self-proclaimed foodies, Los Angeles seems to be lacking in healthy, loc...