Quality Greens Kitchen (QGK) has emerged as one of Downtown Brooklyn’s go-to spots, offering an array of crisp salads, premium meats, and a kaleidoscope of rainbow-hued vegetables, promising fast casual dining of freshness and quality. 

We sat down with the founder of QGK, Steven Friedrich, to find out more about their culinary venture, what drew them to Downtown Brooklyn, and to learn more about their future. 

DBP: Tell us about the inspiration behind Quality Greens Kitchen and your mission.

Steven Friedrich (SF): During my time working an office job in Manhattan, I became fascinated by the fast casual restaurant scene, particularly the higher end. I noticed a merging between fast food and fine dining, with more elevated fast casual options emerging. This trend intrigued me, and I believed in its potential. While there are already a few established players in this industry, I do feel we’re bringing something new and elevated to NYC and think the trend is just getting started nationally.

Our aim is to bridge the worlds of fast casual and fine dining, with our service model leaning fast and our food/décor leaning fine, all tied together with a focus on culinary arts. Our Chef’s Plate offering features premium cuts of meat, in line with upper echelon fine-dining kitchens, paired with side dishes (mainly vegetable-focused), and house-made sauces.  Alternatively, customers can order off our Salad menu and enjoy unique flavor profiles and house-made dressings, alongside the same freshly grilled proteins (vegan/vegetarian options are also available).

Our locations’ design, led by renowned fine dining architect Garrett Singer, aims to create a comfortable, yet sophisticated atmosphere. We strive to offer an elevated experience while maintaining affordability, positioning ourselves above typical fast casual restaurants but more accessible than fine dining establishments with added costs like alcohol and tipping.

DBP: Given that you’re expanding, what’s your goal? 

SF: Our approach differs from larger fast casual companies, as we’re a small, family-funded operation. We’re taking it one store at a time and aren’t rushing to seek institutional funding. However, we’re competing with some very established players (both public companies and privately-held “unicorns”), so we are looking to make a statement with each location we open.

Our second location here in Downtown Brooklyn, launched in November, follows the success of our first in Hoboken. We aim to grow thoughtfully and maintain quality standards. Our revenue streams include walk-in business (which tends to be lunch-heavy), a strong dinner/delivery business, and catering throughout the broader NY-metro area. Here in BK, we’re strategically located to serve walk-ins and delivery customers, tapping into the corporate and residential mix of Downtown Brooklyn.

DBP: What sets this location apart?  

SF: In addition to the neighborhood’s robust walk-in traffic, our delivery service tends to thrive during dinner hours. We pride ourselves on offering compelling dinner options, akin to home-cooked meals. Strategically, we found this location to be centrally positioned, adjacent to MetroTech and equidistant from Court Street and City Point, making us easily accessible for customers. Moreover, our delivery radius covers a wide swath of Brooklyn’s major residential neighborhoods. Downtown Brooklyn presents an ideal setting for our venture, boasting a vibrant mix of corporate offices and high-rise residential complexes. It’s a dynamic neighborhood with immense potential.

DBP: How does Quality Greens Kitchen compare to other health-focused food businesses? 

SF: Our main point of differentiation exists in the steps between the farm and the table, namely the kitchen.  Dovetailing a salad concept alongside a fully vented, open kitchen of this scale (operated by chefs with fine dining pedigrees) is unique.  We offer both health-conscious options (e.g. organic, hormone/antibiotic free, vegan/vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), as well as comfort foods such as USDA Prime steak and Mac & Cheese.  Health has many definitions depending on who you ask, and we prefer to empower the customer to make their own decisions vs. pushing a single health ideology. Our mission is to blend fine dining quality with speed, affordability, and convenience.

DBP: What are your most popular menu items? 

SF: Our premium proteins are the star of the show and set us apart, particularly our crisped, skin-on chicken breast, USDA Prime flatiron steak, and dill marinated salmon, which we get delivered fresh (never frozen) 6 days/week. Each is prepared with care and offers a unique flavor profile. While I couldn’t name a single menu item due to varied preferences, I highly recommend trying our standout proteins for a taste of what Quality Greens has to offer.  

Quality Greens Kitchen exemplifies the fusion of fast casual convenience with the culinary experience of fine dining, delivering a refreshing dining experience. With a dedication to freshness, quality ingredients, and innovative approaches to healthy dining, QGK stands out as a most welcome addition to Downtown Brooklyn’s Salad Alley!