Ray and Shannon Allen open organic grown restaurant in Orlando Walmart
In March 2016, Shannon Allen and her husband, former Miami Heat player Ray Allen, opened Grown, a healthy and casual restaurant in South Miami. Today, it remains the first and only USDA certified organic fast food restaurant with drive-thru on the East Coast.
Over the past year and a half, the Allens have extended the concept to Hard Rock Stadium, Watsco Center, and Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Shannon’s home state.
This month, the couple opened a Grown store in a Walmart Supercenter on Narcoossee Road in Orlando’s Lake Nona community.
“The opportunity to partner with Walmart is so inspiring because we’re still a small family business,” says Shannon. “In less than two years we are sitting in one of the largest companies in the world. It is a testament to the power of the mission.”
Grown Lake Nona is similar in design to South Miami’s flagship, with a large countertop with wood accents and lush greenery. The menu is also the same, including soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps in small quantities; gluten-free bakery products; customizable cold-pressed juices and fruit smoothies; and family style dining options. Prices range from $ 4 to $ 18 per item and up to $ 50 to feed a family of four.
“There’s a whole crowd of people across the country who don’t have access to fresh food,” she says. “Walmart is helping people save money and live better, and it’s willing to go places no one else is.”
Developed by the Allens, Grown is described as “real food, slow cooked, for fast people” which means it blends a farm-to-table concept using organic, local and nutritious ingredients with the essence of a fast food place, where orders are placed and served within four minutes.
“Grow was born out of frustration,” said Shannon New times in 2016. “At home, I do my best to prepare delicious, nutrient-dense meals for our five children, including our son Walker, who lives with type 1 diabetes. Like most busy families, we juggle homework, extracurricular sports and daily commitments – we live in our cars. I had an aha moment where I realized I couldn’t just sit there helplessly waiting for someone else to create a fast food option that meets our family’s dietary needs. ”
Today, Shannon is focused on opening as many locations as needed to make Grown accessible to everyone.
“When we first opened we really didn’t know if anyone would show up,” she says. “The concept has been so well received. We are constantly evolving to try to find ways to better serve our customers.”
Partner Grown is optimistic about opening more locations in Walmart stores, but could not confirm any possible upcoming plans.
“We want to see if we can resonate with the Walmart customer and if that becomes an asset for them,” she says. “Either way, I’ll never be able to rest until Grown is available to everyone across the country.”
Cultivated Lake Nona. Walmart Supercenter, 11930 Narcoossee Rd., Orlando; grandi.org. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.