Submitted photos

Submitted photos

So Good So You opens fast-casual café

Updated: February 22, 2018 - 10:24 am

Plant-based eatery showcases the retail company’s popular product lines

When Rita Katona doesn’t feel so well, she opens her fridge and takes her own health and wellness products.

The co-founder of So Good So You is bringing even more of the brand’s juices, plant-based beverages and other retail products to the skyway with its flagship breakfast and lunch stop. So Good So You has opened its second skyway location, this time with a full kitchen, at the Retek Building across from the Target headquarters.

While the café’s menu will be vegan, mostly gluten free and entirely plant-based, Katona said the food isn’t just health food. It should taste good and look good too, she added.

“We want to attract the tailgater from the Super Bowl… who just wants a really good, filling meal that’s going to make them feel awesome,” she said.

The approximately 30-seat So Good So You café occupies the space last home to Tommy Carver’s Garden of Flowers. Katona, who spent seven years at Target corporate, said the flower shop was a common site for work meetings and hopes office workers will hang out at the café, which will feature sockets to plug in laptops and USB-connected devices at every seat.

“I want people from Target sitting down here, having their [meetings] and having a smoothie,” she said.

Rita Katona. Submitted photo
Rita Katona. Submitted photo

The café joins the brand’s first skyway concept, a juice and smoothie bar in the Baker Center, but further expands the menu with five plates ($12), five toasts ($7), 10-plus smoothie varieties and several packaged sweets and snacks.

Salads_TumericPowerGreensGroup webThe protein plates each contain at least 30 grams of protein, Katona said, thanks to ingredients like chickpeas, hemp seeds, edamame and cashews instead of meat or vegetarian meat alternatives. The mixtures of vegetables, fruits and grains come topped with signature dressings, like a Turmeric Liquid Gold Sauce or another with spicy horseradish. So Good So You enlisted Jessi Peine, formerly a chef at Birdie in Kingfield, to craft the food options.

“We wanted to curate the experience for the customer, which is not something you really find in the skyway,” Katona said.

The company recently rebranded its organic juice line (Juice So Good), its perishable baby food pouch line (So Good Baby) and nut-based latte drink line (Coffee So Good) under the So Good So You moniker. Each of those brands, plus new $3.99 wellness shots, are available at the café.

While they are the same products found in grocery stores like Lunds & Byerlys or Target, the café’s products don’t travel far. The company’s zero-waste production facility is located a few miles away in the Como neighborhood of Southeast Minneapolis.

The sustainability theme is evident in the café where products come with organic and/or locally sourced ingredients and don’t contain preservatives or artificial additives. Drinks come with compostable straws — a rarity in restaurants, Katona said — and bottles of juice are shipped with an alternative to Styrofoam that dissolves in water instead of ending up in a landfill. The company’s tagline of “For the Love of Body & Planet” is written outside the space designed by Shea Design.

“There’s so much nasty stuff out there in food, especially in packaged food. Anything that has our name or our logo or that sell here in this location or elsewhere lives up to those standards,” she said.

A small retail wall features water bottles with infusers, T-shirts and copies of author Josh Tickell’s sustainability-themed book “Kiss the Ground.”

The fast-casual café has two lines, one for people who have ordered ahead of time and a made-to-order line. So Good So You will soon rollout online ordering on its website, sogoodsoyou.com, along with a catering service.

Katona said her and husband and co-founder Eric Hall are already scouting out new locations if the concept is successful.

“This really helps bring to life what we’re about as a brand,” she said.

So Good So You, at 950 Nicollet Mall, is open 7 a.m.–6 p.m. during the week.