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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 21, 2017

“We Have to Do This!” (Meet Our First Primal Kitchen Restaurant Franchise Owners)

By Guest

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Folks, today is the big day. The first Primal Kitchen Restaurant franchise opened its doors this morning and served up the first Grok-style breakfasts to happy customers. I’m thrilled for Tara and Tom Olson, our South Bend, Indiana, franchise owners and grateful for all their amazing work to get things off the ground. 

Friday is Success Story day, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect story to share than Tara’s. Enjoy, everyone! 

Back in 2008, I started doing CrossFit and based on their philosophy of how one should eat, it lead me to the internet to find all I could on the subject. One of the blogs I came across was Mark’s Daily Apple. I subscribed to it and have been reading it ever since! I purchased The Primal Blueprint when that was released in 2009 and everything just made such perfect sense. It was the first time I had been able to put the pieces together that the foods we eat have a direct impact on our health. And more importantly, the foods that I thought were healthy were far from it.

Before I found the Primal Blueprint my diet consisted of mainly low fat/no fat foods and lots of processed carbohydrates. It was also low in calories and I was always stumped as to why I remained hungry throughout the day and why stubborn weight would not come off. I have always been a fairly athletic person and have always enjoyed working out. Perhaps this is why I had quite the impressive collection of every home workout DVD you could imagine!

At this time in my life we had a young daughter and I wanted our family to be healthy so I filled our fridge with all the “food” items that were marketed as healthful, and I worked out 5 days a week. I cooked at least 4 nights a week at this time but we also ate out 1-2 days per week. There was nothing that resembled a healthy restaurant at this time so we would end up at the standard sit down chain restaurants and eat portions that could have fed a family of 5.

Finding the Primal Blueprint was a turning point in my health because it is based on eating nutrient dense foods and avoiding processed foods. When I made this shift it allowed my body to work properly! My energy throughout the day increased, my skin cleared up, (I seriously cannot remember the last time I had the slightest hint of acne on my face) my sleep improved and to top it off I watched my body composition shift. I now tell people that is a nice side effect of eating real food! It was at this time that I committed to changing not just my eating habits but my husband and daughters as well. That meant cleaning out the pantry and fridge and slowly but surely replacing the bad with the good. It was tough on them and took time but we have been a Paleo/Primal household for the last 8 years and all three of us are far healthier because of it.

Another benefit that came from this is that it forced me to cook all of our meals. We really made an effort to not eat out as we couldn’t control what was going into our meals. Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Cookbook was one of the first cookbooks I owned and I have made the Bacon Broccoli Salad and the Peach Clafouti more times than I can count. I also have the Reader Created Cookbook he offered on the blog a few years back. It is printed out in color and in a 3-ring binder and I have made so many of the dishes from there. His 2nd cookbook Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals is also in my repertoire!

Having these resources for recipes in the beginning of our journey was a game changer. My husband Tom and I often talk about where we might be if we had never made this change. What health problems we might have? What medications would we be on? How would our daughter’s health be? We simply cannot fathom going back to the place we started and are forever thankful we took the leap and trusted the science.

Slide15We saw a social media post in July of 2015 regarding the opportunity to own a Primal Kitchen Restaurant Franchise, and immediately we were intrigued. We had already benefitted so much from a Primal lifestyle ourselves and the thought of being able to share that with others through a restaurant led us to investigate further. We were invited to attend one of the Open House events that served to highlight the franchise, and unfortunately I could not go with Tom but when he came home he simply looked at me and said “We have to do this.” So we jumped right in and haven’t looked back.

The most exciting thing to us about this venture is that we get to be a part of this real food movement. Consumers are starting to demand better quality food and I think that is demonstrated by the choices we are seeing in the grocery stores. However, I don’t see that coming through in a lot of the restaurants out there. To be able to offer the “on the go” consumer a full menu of nutrient dense food choices is by far the most important thing to us.

Edited_South Bend (1)Some of my favorites include the short rib hash, the duck fat biscuit with egg salad, the chicken curry coconut soup, and the bison filet with fig reduction. I have also tasted all three of our dessert items and let me just say you can never go wrong with chocolate cake in a mug!

The support we have received from Primal Kitchen Restaurants and the franchise company have been wonderful. Neither Tom nor I have backgrounds in the restaurant industry so it was imperative to us that we have a good team there that could walk us through all of the challenges we knew we would face. They have done a phenomenal job. The support that we have received from not only our friends and family but the community as a whole has been amazing. We have received incredibly positive feedback from so many people about this concept coming to our area.

We hope to have folks from all over come visit us. Since we will be the first location open in the country we anticipate people coming from near and far to check us out. (Spread the word to your friends and family. Maybe they are traveling through our area and need a great place to eat!) It is our goal to create a healthy culture and community within the restaurant. From our employees to our patrons we want everyone to benefit from eating whole, nutrient dense foods.

Thanks to Tara Olson for sharing her and her family’s Primal journey today. Want to support Tara and Tom? You can follow the South Bend restaurant on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest. 

Also, be sure to check out the Primal Kitchen Restaurants website as well as follow the PKR Facebook page and Instagram for updates on ALL 7 of our upcoming franchise openings. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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13 Comments on "“We Have to Do This!” (Meet Our First Primal Kitchen Restaurant Franchise Owners)"


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1 month 5 hours ago

Congratulations, Tara and Tom! I’m so happy for you both, and thanks for sharing your story here. I wish you every success. (And now if we could get a franchise in Minnesota….) 🙂

Elizabeth Resnick
1 month 5 hours ago

Congrats on everything…your success story, your families success story, and your new business venture! I get out to Indiana from time to time…would totally go out of the way to check your restaurant out! Love how so many MDA followers not just have their own health journey, but find ways to share it with others. And hoping some Primal Kitchen restaurants make it out to the east coast!

BILL Chapman
1 month 5 hours ago

Best of luck wish you all the best

Ryan Parnham
1 month 4 hours ago

Congratulations! I can’t wait to come try it out! I live in Peoria, IL area so we aren’t all that far away and will eventually make a trip over the South Bend.

1 month 1 hour ago

Helping make the world a little better one bite at a time! Wishing you much success!

Andrew H
Andrew H
1 month 1 hour ago

Great story! There needs to be a Primal Kitchen restaurant in Houston!

30 days 20 hours ago

I have never opened a restaurant before, so I’m not an expert, but have gone through it a few times with others who have. The first 18 months are the hardest financially and you must keep very reasonable expectations during this time. The very best of “luck” (aka hardwork) to you both. Will you be able to sell Mark’s books from there too?

Chuck Ciaccia
Chuck Ciaccia
30 days 19 hours ago

Tara & Tom, congratulations on the Grand Opening of your Primal Kitchen Restaurant. What a great accomplishment. I wish you the best on your start up.

30 days 4 hours ago

Congratulations Tara and Tom! It’s just the beginning. I look forward to seeing a Primal Kitchen restaurant here in Salt Lake City one day!

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
30 days 2 hours ago

Woohoo! Huge congrats, Primal Kitchen, Tara & Tom! (And when’s Primal Kitchen coming to Canada?:)

29 days 7 hours ago

Good luck on your venture! I hope this brings you a ton of joy and passive income!

28 days 8 hours ago

Awesome! My home town is Shipshewana, and I already told my wife the next time we’re back to visit, we’re going to pop over and try it out. Congratulation and good luck!!

Jimmy Smith
28 days 1 hour ago

Good for you Tara and Tom! I wish you nothing but the best. Make your dreams come true!