Satisfying Every Diet
Question: Where can you bring all of your hard-core vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, and “junk food” friends, to lunch where they’ll all be able to enjoy the food? (And no, this is not a trick question.)
Answer: Local Urban Kitchen in Pt. Pleasant.
Believe it or not, Local Urban Kitchen, aka LUK, is the restaurant where you can bring the pickiest of eaters. Whether they’re hardcore meat eaters or devoted vegans, there’s something on the menu for everyone.
When they started the business, Marwa Fattah and her brother—also LUK’s head chef—Maged Fattah, were focused on offering the community an affordable alternative to fast food, while also encouraging everyone to sit down for one meal as a family, despite their unique eating habits.
“We know that families are versatile,” said Marwa. “We want everyone to have an option at the table.” However, the difference between LUK and many other restaurants is that they focus on cooking with the highest quality ingredients that they can find, always opting for organic produce, dairy, and meat, when available.
LUK purchases most of its ingredients from local vendors, sourcing its meat right in town and its coffee from Asbury Park. The LUK website states, “We do our best to focus on using homegrown and local vendors for our produce, eggs, and meat. Buying a lot of our products locally will keep us thriving as a community.” Even the furniture in the Pt. Pleasant location was built by a local upholsterer (they’re unique pallet benches and tables), while an artist based in Toms River crafted the plates. The restaurant is warm and “healthy feeling,” if that makes sense, with bright yellow walls that make you think you’re eating at a super-clean farm.
Open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, and dinner on Thursday nights, LUK offers healthy options such as its popular Harissa Sandwich, which features grilled chicken, spring greens, tomato, red onion, and avocado on a multigrain toast for just $11. If you would like to go gluten-free, you can sub the toast for a collard green wrap and even get raw kale chips on the side. Another popular dish is the blackbean burger, made in house (as is every dish), featuring fresh salsa and avocado, also on multigrain toast.
One of my favorites is the ahi tuna taco appetizer, which comes with two generously sized wild caught ahi tuna tacos featuring shredded cabbage, mango salsa, and ranchero dressing, all served on sprouted corn tortillas for just $7. It was a meal in itself! The tuna was seared perfectly, and the sauce was refreshing. It filled me up without weighing me down. We also had the LUK Cheese Steak, a favorite dish of my husband’s, and probably the best I’ve ever had (don’t tell my local pizzeria)! The dish features sliced-thin, top round grass-fed, and finished beef with peppers, onions, mushrooms, and provolone cheese, all served on a six-inch hoagie roll. I’m sure it’s not the best thing for your waistline, but if you’re going to eat a cheesesteak, this is the way to go.
Marwa also told me about her favorite breakfast dish on the menu, the crab cake benny featuring two poached eggs, two jumbo lump crab cakes, spinach, tomato, and hollandaise sauce. Needless to say I’ll be heading back soon for breakfast.
LUK also features a popular smoothie and juice bar where regulars get their fill most mornings, picking up a green goddess juice made with spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, and green apple or a blueberry banana flax smoothie, which is bursting with blueberries, banana, flax oil, vanilla yogurt, and almond milk.
With so many restaurants catering to just one type of eater, it’s refreshing to see a restaurant that refuses to box itself into just one category. Thank you LUK for focusing on bringing families together to eat dishes that will make them feel good, inside and out.
Note: Prices cited in this article are subject to change.
Local Urban Kitchen
1805 Route 35
Pt. Pleasant Beach
Melissa Beveridge is a freelance journalist and editor, focusing on great food, healthy living, and wellness. Her passion for eating and living well embodies her writing. A lover of all things Jersey, she is also an avid traveler, always looking to discover those hidden culinary gems everywhere she goes. Her musings can be found on her blog mbeewell.wordpress.com.