Earlier this winter, the Herb Box replaced Zahtar by (David) Fhima at Life Time Fitness in Eden Prairie. The Hot Dish takes a glimpse inside the new restaurant, which offers its fare to club members and the public alike.
The Herb Box has two restaurants already in Scottsdale, Arizona, started by CEO Susan Wilcox and chef Becky Windels in 1995. Wilcox, a college student, was throwing events for Malibu clients; Windels loved to cook.
"That was the entire conversation" about opening the Herb Box, Wilcox says.
The idea behind Herb Box's food is simple, says Windels, with a focus on fresh, organic food. The Eden Prairie location plans to eventually incorporate more local suppliers; currently, they source butternut squash, dried fruits and nuts, and maple syrup from the area.
"This is how we eat; this is how we think people should eat," Wilcox says.
The decision to serve the general public, not just club members, was equally simple for Wilcox and Windels. "We're an independent company, and we need to make money," Wilcox says.
At a recent VIP reception, Life Time Fitness CEO Bahram Akradi apologized to guests "for what we have had here in the past couple years, which has not been consistent."
The Herb Box offers an antidote to that frustration, Wilcox says, which is how it attracted Akradi's attention when he visited Arizona and dined at the Herb Box.
"He came to our restaurant and got consistency and great service," Wilcox says.
"I am very, very picky about quality and service," Akradi said at the reception, "and they have not ever let me down."
Since Wilcox and Windels continue to run the restaurants in Arizona, chef Matt Arnold will be the chef de cuisine, responsible for executing Windels's menus in Eden Prairie. Arnold has been with the Herb Box for three years. Windels will be on-site in Minnesota once a month.
The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can see sample menus at the Herb Box's website.
THE HERB BOX 755 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (market stays open till 9).