Roots Health Bar, a business run by Loyola students which will serve healthy eats, is set to replace Felice’s Kitchen, a pizzeria founded in 2012 by students who wanted to bring a slice of Loyola’s Rome campus to Chicago.
Felice’s Kitchen (6441 N. Sheridan Road) was the only student-run pizzeria in the nation and closed in May due to the competition from other restaurants on North Sheridan Road, The Phoenix reported in April.
Loyola Limited — a student-run program operating several on-campus businesses including Ireland’s Pub 10 in the Damen Student Center — decided to replace the pizzeria with a restaurant that will serve healthy food options, according to Rosa María Noriega, the president of the new restaurant and a 21-year-old Loyola senior.
The menu will likely include “bowl concepts” such as grain, salad and smoothie bowls, according to Anthony Valentino, the chief executive officer of Loyola Limited and a 22-year-old senior.
“There’s a lot of fast and fried foods around,” said Valentino, an accounting and information systems double major. “We want to provide something more for the health-conscious community.”
Noriega said the restaurant will cater to two specific needs — healthy, affordable food and entertainment. The restaurant will also host local talents including comedians, singers and guitar players, Noriega said, to “create a very community-like feel within the restaurant.”
“The more people that can make use of this space, the more successful we will be,” Noriega said.
Gwendolyn Brown, a sophomore majoring in film and digital media, said she’s “a big fan” of healthier food options. She said having local talents is also a fun way to attract students.
“I think that would be really fun,” Brown, 19, said. “Even if they did like a little open mic night or something that could be really cool, too, for students to go and perform.”
Noriega said the cost of a meal will probably range between $9 and $15. She said they worked on determining prices by talking with students and asking them how much they will spend on food.
Noriega and Valentino said the Loyola Limited team did “market research” — which includes learning about the local population and what existing restaurants there are — and sent out surveys to the community throughout the summer before deciding on Roots Health Bar.
“It was a lot of talking to people and really hearing what they were trying to say,” Noriega, an international business major, said.
Noriega said the Loyola Limited team was open to any sort of business after closing Felice’s Kitchen, be it a fashion shop, restaurant or a karaoke bar. She said multiple surveys were sent out — firstly to determine what kind of business would be successful and then to narrow down options as the team collected responses.
Emilie Amadi, a first-year biology major, said as long as it’s “quick and easy” to grab food, she thinks students will be okay with the restaurant.
“I know some students prefer pizza, but I feel like it’s not a bad option,” Amadi, 18, said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to checking it out.”
Evelyn Zurawspi, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, said she hopes the restaurant has good food and can be a place for students to hangout.
“You can get food, but there’s not really a restaurant-ish type of atmosphere where you can just sit with your friends, talk, that kind of stuff,” Zurawspi, 20, said.
Rollin’ n Bowlin’ is a healthy eatery that opened in Damen this semester, but Noriega said Roots’ concept isn’t “just a particular menu item.” She said she didn’t know Rollin’ n Bowlin’ was going to open when it did but she thinks it’s a positive thing that there are healthy options available on campus.
Loyola Limited is aiming to open the restaurant by late January, Noriega said.