LEMONADE is Seasonal California Comfort Food served in a casual, bright cafeteria setting, catering to people looking for a quick lunch or a healthy grab-and-go dinner for the family. “We believe good food is in the taste buds of the beholder and a mouthwatering, quality meal is for everyone,” says Lemonade’s Executive Chef and Founder Alan Jackson. “We aspire to take the elitism out of conscious eating and put emphasis on convenience, flexibility, and affordability.”
Born and bred in Los Angeles, Jackson says he’s been cooking his entire life. After launching two fine-dining restaurants—Jackson’s in Hollywood, and The Farm in Beverly Hills, he recognized there was something oddly missing in the industry, both in eating out and in his family life. “As a chef I would go home, and think about what’s for dinner, and it was always a struggle,” he says, “I wanted to create a relaxed restaurant for people to get the type of food I wanted my family to eat.”
In 2008, Jackson opened the first Lemonade in West Hollywood, which expanded into multiple locations that span LA County from Venice Beach to downtown, and all the way down the Golden Coast to San Diego. “We are thrilled that the response has been so positive and LEMONADE has become a California favorite,” he says.
Jackson named the restaurant LEMONADE because the image fits perfectly symbolic of sunny California, stating, “The simple word embodies a sense of light, simplicity, and playfulness. This one word name explains the way I think and cook food, how we serve our guests, and the way we want to make people feel. While the word is nostalgic, it is also modern and timeless.”
Everything about LEMONADE is made in California, not just the food and plate ware, but the furnishings as well. The comfortable environment of every unique location allows for socializing, and also showcases the natural design elements including outdoor patios, giant sunflowers, and big windows that flood each space with sunshine. “While the distinctively bright and cheery atmosphere is ubiquitous throughout all LEMONADE locations, no two spaces are replicas, avoiding the sterile cookie-cutter blueprint of a restaurant with multiple locations,” explains Jsckson. “We painstakingly design each restaurant to specifically showcase the neighborhood and be reminiscent of place as is LEMONADE’s eclectic California cuisine. For instance, our Hillcrest and Westfield UTC locations feature signature art work specific to San Diego.”
Jackson doesn’t consider LEMONADE as a “natural food” or “vegan” restaurant. While they feature many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, their extensive, diverse menu has something for everyone. He believes in putting the season’s finest produce at the center of the plate instead of being a side or afterthought. The backbone of LEMONADE’s menu is their Marketplace Vegetables, designed to mix-and-match, which perfectly fit today’s on-the-go lifestyle and perceptive palate.
At LEMONADE, Jackson is committed to the seasons, sourcing local purveyors whenever possible and using biodegradable packaging and plate ware, as well as design eco-friendly furnishings. The menu showcases the abundance of the seasons and what California agriculture has to offer throughout the year and is rotated eight times per year (early Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Late Winter, Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer). A handful of guest favorites remain on the menu year-round, including the Soba Noodles with Kimchi Marinated Vegetables and the Buttermilk Baked Chicken.” Our marketplace vegetables are a feast for the eyes and our focus on seasonal ingredients is most evident here,” he says. “We love showcasing the abundance of seasonal vegetables and fruits in a fun creative way. Our mission is to offer a delicious and health-conscious alternative to cheap food on the run eaten out of your car and a true sit-down meal without pretense.”
At LEMONADE Jackson believes eating your vegetables shouldn’t feel like punishment. “Our mission is to capture California’s spirit and adventure about food, showcasing the beautiful bounty of seasonal ingredients, and a desire to reinterpret familiar dishes with unexpected twists,” he says. “Our food is for people who crave flavor and care about what they eat.”
©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana