Skip to navigationSkip to content
The Organic Coup
More organic than it looks.
HEALTH AND HASTE

The Bay Area has opened America’s first USDA-certified organic fast-food restaurant

By Deena Shanker

Good news for organic foodies who love fried chicken but not the time it takes to make it: organic fast food has arrived in the US.

This week, the country’s first USDA-certified organic fast food restaurant opened in (where else?) the San Francisco area, Fox News reports. The menu at the Organic Coup is a small one—a fried chicken sandwich, a fried chicken wrap, a fried chicken bowl, a side of caramel-covered popcorn, and some beverages—and the prices, at $8.99 for a main, are higher than your typical fast-food chain. But these features reflect the reality of organic food: there’s less of it available, and it’s more expensive.

Organic-food customers, though, have shown they’re okay with both of those things: the US organic market, which grew 11% in 2014 to $35.9 billion, is booming.

The restaurant is led by founder Erica Welton, a former buyer for Costco. She wanted to go even further than Chipotle when it comes to responsible sourcing. “We were always on the go, and usually the best choice we had for food was Chipotle,” she told Fox News. “They’ve done a really great job on the non-GMO front, but somebody needed to take it all the way.”

It’s not a space without competition: Chains like LYFE Kitchen and Dig Inn also focus on using the best ingredients, but don’t insist on them necessarily being organic. V Burger, a new vegan burger joint in New York City that hopes to open more locations eventually, also has a GMO-free menu and all organic sides.

Welton told Eater she’s planning to open in 25 locations over the next 14 months. That’s easier said than done, as LYFE Kitchen learned when it eventually scaled back its ambitious growth plans. But with its small menu, largely positive reviews, and a founder who introduced organic chicken to Costco, the soon-to-be-chain just may be ready to stage a fast food industry coup.