local restaurants meet the challenge
by Stephen Dunn and Sarah Robertson

The proper diet benefits your physical, mental and emotional health. What you choose to eat can combat diseases, control weight, improve mood, boost energy and improve longevity. But eating well on a consistent basis can be challenging. Thankfully, these four Valley restaurants come to the rescue by proving that healthy food can also be satisfying and delicious.


Andrew Weil, M.D. met Phoenix restaurateur Sam Fox in the late ‘90s. After spending time with Dr. Weil, and cooking with him at his Tucson ranch, Fox came to understand how delicious healthy food can be, and realized that Dr. Weil’s concept for a restaurant – one that serves great food that just happens to be good for you – could work. The result of that partnership was realized when, on October 27, 2008, the first True Food Kitchen opened in Phoenix.

A success from the get-go, True Food continues to be a Valley favorite. As intended, it is a restaurant in which delicious flavors, healthy nutrients, environmental awareness and an inviting atmosphere come together. Dishes are influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and Californian cuisine, and include soups, appetizers, salads, pasta, rice and noodle dishes, wood-grilled dishes, sandwiches and burgers, brick-oven pizzas and desserts. Libations include refreshers, teas, signature cocktails, beer and wine.

The Butternut Squash Pizza with smoked onion, almond ricotta and dried cranberries, Grilled Chicken Salad with medjool date, dried cranberry, jicama, apple, manchego, farro, marcona almond tossed with champagne vinaigrette and the Grilled Salmon entrée with smoked onion farro, arugula, roasted beet, cilantro pumpkin seed pesto gets my vote.

The menu caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings. In order to offer the ripest ingredients and produce at the peak of their freshness, items rotate seasonally. Both locations – Biltmore Fashion Park and Scottsdale Quarter – offer outdoor seating. For details, visit


Organic, gluten-free, hormone-free, sustainable and health-conscious fare is what it’s about at Farm & Craft. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, the restaurant offers everything from Strawberry Brioche French Toast for breakfast to the veggie-packed Rustic Farm bowl for lunch to delicious cold-pressed cocktails.

An extra perk is the “Wellness Menu” which is organized to address four specific paths to optimal health; an Anti-inflammatory Diet, Increasing Probiotic Levels, Maintaining High Levels of Anti-Oxidants and Reducing Overall Stress. Salads include an updated Greek variation with quinoa, cucumber, arugula, red and yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives and feta cheese dressed with a lemon-oregano vinaigrette. Protein add-ons are steak, salmon, chicken or tofu.

Roasted Chicken served with a port glaze, garlic spinach and roasted cauliflower and a Prime Flat Iron Steak from Harris Ranch with sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts accompanied by a cranberry and fig glaze are the entrée selections. To complete your meal, walk-on-the-wild-side by ordering the paleo brownies or the chocolate chia tiramisu.

The chic, easygoing modern farm-style interior features light wood accents, communal seating and a bright patio that welcomes your four-legged furry sidekick. Happy and Healthy Happy Hours are featured daily. For hours of operation and the complete menu, visit


Flower Child’s mantra is “Healthy Food For A Happy World.” As for the restaurant name, “flower child” originated as a synonym for “hippie” -idealistic youth in the late ‘60s who advocated love, peace and simple values that challenged the establishment. It seems appropriate then that Flower Child, another Sam Fox creation, has a simple and loving approach to dining that rebels against processed, unhealthy food.

Diners are invited on “the journey to food enlightenment.” Flower Child works with ranchers who respect, protect and love their animals. The proteins are all raised naturally, without additives. The organic produce is guided by the Dirty Dozen list with local sourcing a priority.

A selection of soups, hummus and whole-grain wraps are offered. As for wraps, The Flying Avocado filled with moist chicken, smoky gouda and creamy avocado hummus and The Rebel with savory steak, charred onion and ripe port salut cheese are stellar. If you prefer a vegetable and grain plates try the quinoa with sweet corn and yogurt. For salads, the beet, avocado and citrus selection is a standout. Do consider adding a protein of either all-natural chicken, sustainable salmon, grass-fed steak or organic non-GMO tofu.

The décor is farmhouse chic, the atmosphere is family-friendly and the children’s menu is yummy, so do bring the kiddos. There are three locations; Arcadia, Uptown, Scottsdale and Desert Ridge. Visit


Knowing that many of us have limited time to prepare meals that make us happy about how we fuel our bodies served as the incentive to create the  Original ChopShop. This neighborhood eatery, crafting food from whole ingredients, first opened in 2013 in Old Town Scottsdale. Believing that eating well leads to happiness, ChopShop’s goal has been to provide a welcoming place where you can “fuel your well-being with food that tastes good and makes you feel good, too.”

For health-conscious patrons, the dietary filters include; gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan. The menu is extensive with grilled protein bowls, fruit bowls, parfaits, breakfast foods, wraps and sandwiches, chopped salads, pressed juices and protein shakes.

The grilled protein bowls are served with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, onion, carrots and mushrooms.Try the Red Chili Lime Shrimp or Spicy Korean Steak, then choose either brown rice, sweet potato hash, “Forbidden” rice or quinoa to complete the dish.

Salads, listed as “chops”, refers to ChopShop’s handling of vegetables. The Beet Chop consists of house greens, arugula, golden beets, sour apple, goat cheese, cashews and golden raisins tossed with red wine vinaigrette. Power up with an add-on protein.

Bring out the kid in you with a Jacked Up PB & J Protein Shake. Feeling under-the-weather? Cold Buster Juice, a mixture of carrot, orange, ginger, turmeric and lemon, is just what the doctor ordered. ChopShops are located in Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Arcadia and North Scottsdale. Visit