Co-Founder, City Greens
Founders Abhi Bhansali and Ben Kazenmaier
Cheryl Gerber Photos
After attending college in other states and traveling extensively, New Orleanians Abhi Bhansali and Ben Kazenmaier returned home to discover a need. Finding quick, convenient access to salads and fresh foods proved difficult. Tapping into the city’s entrepreneurial culture, Bhansali and Kazenmaier launched the first location of City Greens in January 2012. The Poydras restaurant was immediately well received, as it bridged the gap between health and convenience foods for the professional crowd.
Three Locations & Growing
As of this writing, City Greens has three locations in the Greater New Orleans area. Diners near Poydras, Elmwood and Old Metairie can enjoy the restaurant’s many salads, wraps and fresh juices. In addition, the company will likely continue its expansion into the future.
The founders of City Greens also strive to provide local residents with stable career opportunities. Because restaurants in New Orleans have to face stiff competition for servers and cooks, Bhansali and Kazenmaier strive to make their staff feel like part of a family. In addition, the company already has a history of advancing workers from line work to management. By doing so, City Greens has managed to stay ahead of the turnover problem that plagues many restaurants.
Another aspect that sets City Greens apart is its commitment to transparency at every level of the product chain. The company grows its own greens at a farm in Florida and then ships the fresh produce directly to New Orleans, so that the bulk of food served at City Greens is never more than a few days off the plant. This vertical integration also gives the company the chance to supervise growing conditions and uphold high standards. In addition, the other foods served at City Greens, such as radishes or proteins, are carefully sourced from local or national suppliers with similar growing practices and quality standards.
Greening New Orleans for Good
In addition to furthering the health and fitness offerings in New Orleans, City Greens is also devoted to giving back to the community. For example, all proceeds from the grand opening of its Metairie location went to the benefit of Grow Dat, which will use the funds to help educate New Orleans children about the importance of growing and enjoying real foods. For its founders, this is all part of the business plan.
“Making small differences in people’s lives is actually pretty easy,” says Bhansali.
For More Information
For more information on City Greens, visit EatCityGreens.com/farm or on Facebook.com/CityGreens or on Twitter @EatCityGreens, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling one of their locations Elmwood: 229-4240, Old Metairie: 323-2900 or Poydras: 533-0004.