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LeanWorks - A Healthy Fast-Food Option in West Roxbury

It tastes delicious like fast-food, but without the high calorie intake. New restaurant open on Spring Street in the Shaw's Plaza.

 

When you walk into LeanWorks you are often greeted by one of the happy owners, Shea Coakley. Behind the counter, signs show you how to order, and how many calories you will be ingesting. A Philly steak and cheese, a Memphis BBQ sauce pork sandwich are just two options - and they're healthy options, too!

"Good food, reinvented" is one of the mottos on the wall of the new restaurant in the Plaza on Spring Street.

Co-owner Shea Coakley explained how he and his partner Peter Roy, a South End resident originally from Hingham, came up with the delicious and low-calorie business idea, "We are foodies, not fine foodies. We like going to quick service restaurants, as we're always eating on the go. (We thought) why aren't there healthier options for people on the go? Traditional fast foods, but in a healthier manner."

"We do lower calorie base options like buns and wraps, sauces and slaws. We have a lot of clever rework on recipes. The buffalo sauce uses vegetable oil instead of butter. Everything is portion controlled. We weigh all of our recipes, all the sandwiches, even down to making a sandwich inline usng portion guns to get the correct amount of sauce on each sandwich," said Coakley.

No meal is more than 490 calories. Coakley explained the easy 1-2-3 process of ordering food at LeanWorks. Next to each step and food is the calculated caloric intake. All sauces and condiments are measured so each meal gets the measured caloric intake. Coakley, 27, said one way LeanWorks keeps its food healthier is by using meat 90% lean or leaner.

Step 1 is choosing your base: a bun, a wrap or a bowl of salad. Step 2 is choosing your protein: Angus sirloin, the house turkey burger, slow roasted pulled pork, pulled all-white chicken, thinly shaved steak, or a vegetarian chipotle black bean burger. Step 3 is choosing one of eight different flavors including: the Memphis - a sweet house BBQ sauce with tangy Carolina slaw, or California - a roasted red pepper spread, avocado, tomato and turkey bacon. There are also flavor options for a Philly cheese sandwich (you choose steak or other proteins), Buffalo sauce, and the Apple Summer - a citrus pesto spread with apple fennel slaw.

And so far business has been very good since LeanWorks opening midday on April 2. Said Coakley, "By the end of the week we were slammed for lunch. We had a line out the doors. We thought we'd do a soft opening. It was a pleasant surprise."

The restaurant also has a kids menu. Said Coakley, "We know (West Roxbury) is a family orientated place. We have a baked chicken fingers option, turkey hotdogs and we have kid-sized burger options. We do a 'family works', which is our healthy answer to the KFC bucket, (and LeanWorks') completely feeds a family of four for $24.99." 

Coakley said his favorite menu items are split between the turkey burger California-flavored or the pulled pork sandwich Memphis-flavored in a wrap.

To come up with its recipes, Coakley and Roy consulted with chef Walter Zuromski, of the Chef Services Group. They also worked with a nutrionist throughout the recipe process.
 
Like quick service restaurants, LeanWorks does sell sodas, but they do encourgage people to drink diet soda, healthier drinks and water. 

"This is taking traditional fast foods and reinventing them to be healthier. We encourage people to go the diet soda route, but we also have teas... Soda is one of those things that people hate to give up." 

LeanWorks is located at 75 Spring St., West Roxbury and is open 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. seven days a week. 

Stephen Smith April 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I went to Lean Works for the the first time this weekend> I tried the pulled pork, it was pretty good. I like the fact that the order menu shows the calorie count of the food you are ordering
David Ertischek (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I like that LeanWorks shows the calorie count, too. I agree with you, Stephen, the pulled pork sandwich was very good. I liked the Philly flavor, too, on a steak and cheese wrap. I'm going to have to "investigate" more...
Stephen Smith April 18, 2012 at 07:24 PM
If you need somebody to help with type of in depth investigation I'm here : )
Bridget Connolly April 19, 2012 at 04:06 PM
This place is awesome! My husband and I went there with our daughter the other day and everything was perfect! My daughter got there chicken soup and I got there carrot ginger soup which I have been craving since we left! My husband got there memphis style pulled pork wrap and it was incredible! We all shared there sweet potato fries and they bake them which normally I dont like cus most places they come out soggy. But here they were crispy and delicious. We are going to make this place a regular stop!
DMW April 24, 2012 at 08:44 PM
My husband and I went last night. My husband was somewhat reluctant but went on my recommendation I had been previously and really liked it. My husband said he was pleasantly surprised at how good the burger and baked fries were and that he would go back. I had the turkey burger again - very good! If the owners are open to suggestions - A fish option for protein would be great (salmon or mahi) and fresh lemon for the ice tea. Maybe in time. Otherwise great!

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