Restaurant News & Reviews

Walmart has everything — even Ray Allen's new Grown restaurant

The brisket in their filling sandwich is grass-fed beef roasted more than seven hours.
The brisket in their filling sandwich is grass-fed beef roasted more than seven hours.

The South Miami restaurant Grown is living up to its name.

The organic restaurant, founded by former NBA and Miami Heat star Ray Allen and his wife Shannon, will open a second standalone location in Central Florida, of all places inside a Walmart Supercenter in Orlando.

The original 69-seat restaurant draws long lines and constant drive through traffic for being the first of its kind to offer certified organic, gluten-free and locally sourced cuisine in a quick service restaurant. It’s fast food for people who hate fast food. They also have two outposts at the Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The brisket in their filling sandwich is grass-fed beef roasted more than seven hours. (Handout photo)

The idea for Grown grew out of the Allens’ battle with their son Walker’s Type 1 diabetes. Shannon Allen struggled to find nutritious, quick food for their son, while raising a busy NBA family of five children. They often ended up eating stadium food. So Shannon Walker worked with Boston chef Todd Kiley to develop the menu.

So opening inside a busy Walmart, full of families, was a natural fit, they wrote in press release. They noted that Walmart is quietly the second-largest seller of organic groceries in the United States. The restaurant, opening in mid-February, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Due to their immense customer base and buying power, (Walmart) can not only support local farmers as they make the switch from conventional to organically grown farms, but, also help drive down the cost of organic for consumers everywhere,” Shannon Allen wrote in a release. “Operating Grown inside of Walmart makes us accessible to every family, regardless of their mean income. This is a game changer.”

The Miami Herald gave Grown, which opened last year, three out of four stars (Very Good), in September. The review found the “bright and cheery space with white subway tiles, a fruity spa water station and patio featuring reclaimed wood benches,” a distinct offering.

Everything from cold-pressed juices to slow-roasted grass-fed brisket fills the menu.

“After downing a big cup of Love Greens [cold-pressed juice] — cucumber, apple, celery, pineapple, ginger, spinach, kale and parsley — we noticed enough of an energy boost to make entering the Dadeland parking lot on a Sunday afternoon conceivable,” according the Herald review. “... toast Shannon Allen for her new approach to fast food.”

Carlos Frías: 305-376-4624, @Carlos_Frias