How Oprah Winfrey Is Getting Into the Restaurant Game

July 12, 2018

Oprah Winfrey's penchant for vegetables, by now, is no secret. The TV personality, philanthropist, actress, and businessperson is well adept in the garden—just take a peek at her Instagram.

It seems Winfrey is just as into eating plants as she is growing them. This week, news emerged that the mogul was investing in True Foods Kitchen, a health food restaurant chain based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Go ahead and add this venture to a list of her other food-related forays, which include an investment in Weight Watchers and an eponymous line of health-conscious prepared dinners and sides.

Very few of you are probably wondering: Who is Oprah? Yet many of you might be asking: What is True Food Kitchen? Fair. I searched the web for some answers; here’s what I found:

  • The first True Food Kitchen was opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008 by Andrew Weil, a doctor of integrated medicine, and restaurateur Sam Fox. Since, they’ve expanded to 23 locations in ten states. Most are in Texas and California.
  • The schtick: The restaurant’s menu centers around a theme of anti-inflammation. Weil’s approach is scientific and professes a gospel of integrated medicine—True Food Kitchen is but one spoke in the wheel of his other business ventures, which include cookbooks, vitamins, and meditation CDs.
  • As for the grub, True Food’s menu is broad, intended to cater to a wide array of palates. A quick glance at the menu on the restaurant’s website reveals a mix of influences and ingredients: tahini, persian cucumbers, harissa, miso, and dashi are all out to play. There’s also a fair share of punchy plant-based proteins like tempeh and tofu.

So what does Oprah’s investment mean for the future of True Food Kitchen? Good question. Since 2016, when Christine Baron, a former Starbucks executive, became the company’s CEO, the restaurants have expanded dramatically, opening spots in a bunch of new cities. With Oprah’s help, it’s safe to say they’ll be able to continue this quest. The company expressed plans to double their number of locations in the following three years.

Loads o' Veggies

“When I first dined at True Food Kitchen, I was so impressed with the team's passion for healthy eating and, of course, the delicious food, that I knew I wanted to be part of the company's future," Winfrey said in a release. And because she's, well, Oprah, she made that happen.

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Whether or not she'll be supplying the kitchen with some of her famous produce remains to be seen.

Have you ever been to True Food Kitchen? If so, let us know in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Val
  • Ttrockwood
  • Whats4Dinner
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Val July 15, 2018
I’m from Phoenix and regularly dine at True Food. It is pribably my fav restaurant:It never failing to satisfy. It’s a great place to take out of town guests for a nice break from Mexican food and more typical fare. The kale salad is legendary and regularly on my home table rotation. There is a True Food cookbook too; it’s great and I regularly use it and gift it. 5 stars out of 5 all around.
Ttrockwood July 13, 2018
I only visited once and was impressed by the clear labeling and menu options for vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, etc- there are several choices for each too! The TLT (tempeh lettuce tomato) sandwich i had there set me on a quest to perfect my own. Hoping they come to nyc!
Whats4Dinner July 12, 2018
I've been to the True Foods in Palo Alto, CA, several times. Only a few meals have been meh or worse. I love how attentive they are to intolerances!! I'm extremely dairy-intolerant and I feel so safe there. I also love how they always have a vegan dessert on the menu. Last fall into winter they had this squash (pumpkin?) pie that was vegan and divine!!!
Eric K. July 12, 2018
"I feel so safe there." A really profound statement. Thanks for sharing.