New restaurant featuring healthy, 'clean eating' slated to open soon
Olivia Amos has concentrated on fitness most of her life, working out and always looking for healthy eating options.
She’s now going to blend her passion into two downtown Columbus businesses. In July she and her husband, John, a grandson of Aflac principle founder John Amos, purchased KPL Fitness, a gym in the 1200 block of Broadway. By mid-October, she and another business partner, Brandi Whitney, will open a restaurant that focuses on “clean eating” at 105 12th St.
Amos, 41, is renaming the gym, founded by Kara Layfield, to WODLIFE Fitness. WODLIFE is a CrossFit apparel and event marketing firm owned by Olivia Amos and another partner. The organic restaurant, in the space previously occupied by Planet Pops and a block and a half from the gym, will be called Bare Roots Farmacy.
“That is what has been so exciting about not only taking the gym over, but starting Bare Roots at the same time, is I truly believe that you can’t have one without the other,” Amos said last week. “To live a healthy lifestyle and to truly make it a lifestyle, you have to have the nutrition side, plus the fitness side.”
That is where Whitney comes into the equation. The two women met more than a year ago at a local CrossFit gym. Their friendship led to a partnership. Whitney had started a home business making meals for those on a Paleo diet, which focuses on food presumed to have been consumed by early humans, including lean meats, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and sweet potatoes. She delivers those meals to about five local CrossFit gyms daily.
“I bring the culinary aspect and she brings the brains and business to it,” Whitney said.
Before starting WODLIFE in 2012, Amos worked in pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales.
The culinary aspect is what will set this apart from some other fitness businesses in the area, said Craig Stahl, a former Cottonmouths hockey player who owns CrossFit Menawi off Summerville Road in Phenix City.
“Liv and Brandi are onto something pretty cool here,” Stahl said on Friday. “You can fuel the body with what you put in it. Liv is the first one to put it all together, and I give her a tip of the hat for that.”
Amos lived in Atlanta before moving home to Columbus about seven years ago. A mother of five children between the ages of 1 and 19, she was always looking for quick, healthy eating options.
“You can see in larger cities the trends are restaurants that offer organic options that are quick and convenient,” Amos said.
Bare Roots will offer the option to dine in, carry out, or pick up ingredients for meals that can be cooked at home. There will be delivery service, as well as a small market offering eggs, meats and cheeses, Amos said.
“Think about it as Market Days, every day,” she said, referring to the popular Saturday morning downtown market that offers locally grown produce and other items. “We are trying to make it easy for families to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Asked to give an example of a meal she serves, Whitney pointed to a dish of chicken fingers, cooked with a blend of almond and coconut flours and served with homemade honey mustard, roasted sweet potatoes and a seasonal vegetable.
“The first response is usually, ‘This can’t be healthy,’ but it is,” Whitney said.
A mother of six, Whitney was trained at the American Culinary Academy in Lakeland, Fla., but began to explore healthier options while working at a women’s health facility in Vermont.
“Butter is not what I like to do, so I had to find ways to make healthy cooking good,” Whitney said.
Current plans call for opening the restaurant, which will employ about five people, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and remain open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Bare Roots will also have a wine and beer garden in a courtyard at the back of the building.
Asked how that contributes to a healthy lifestyle, Amos smiled.
“Everything in moderation,” she said.
The gym will continue to operate much like it did under Layfield, except Amos hopes to appeal to more men. Right now there are about 70 members, who pay up to $136 per month for the classes and personal training. About 10 to 15 percent of the members are men.
“We are hoping to get to about 100 members — that feels like the right number to us right now,” Amos said.
Her businesses will be in the middle of a booming downtown fitness area. The J.P. Thayer YMCA is in the next block, the Uncommon Athlete gym is between WODLIFE and Bare Roots, Big Dog Running Store is in the 1200 block, Ride On Bikes is two blocks to the north, and the Chattahoochee River whitewater course is also two blocks away.
“You can look out at any time of the day and see people running, walking, riding bikes, paddle boarding, kayaking,” Amos said. “That is one of the reasons I am excited about being in this location. I am right in the middle of all of that.”
The revitalization of downtown also plays into the business plan, Amos said.
“We can also pull from the corporate businesses that are down here and the smaller businesses that are down here and the growing number of people who live here,” she said.