Many of us hunkering down on our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier have been left staring at our plates with dread, unimpressed by yet another salad.
However, the Clinton-based Clean Plate Kitchen, which serves fare that is organic and sourced sustainably and locally whenever possible, is showing its customers that eating clean doesn’t have to mean eating boring.
“We are doing our small part to provide a choice for people to make healthy decisions and feel good about eating food that makes themfeel good,” said Nicole Piazza, who co-owns the Clean Plate Kitchen with her husband, Anthony. “It’s a real treat for us when people come in here and we are able to change their opinions about healthy eating. It’s not just sticks and twigs.”
The Clean Plate Kitchen was rebranded from the River View Restaurant in 2015, which Anthony Piazza opened in 2013. The Flemington couple’s “aha” moment came after Nicole, who is a registered dietitian, and Anthony, who is very committed to clean eating, found themselves making their own food to eat in the back instead of eating from the River View’s American menu.
“We realized, ‘Why are we serving food that we don’t promote or believe in?’” Nicole Piazza aid. “So, we decided to do a full rebranding and make all of our food sustainable, organic and local whenever possible. We wanted to almost ‘disguise’ the health aspect in its great taste.”
With a lunch menu that ranges from $9 to $13 and a dinner menu that ranges from $18 to $30, the Clean Plate Kitchen sources its popcorn from Farmer Steve’s Organic Popcorn in Ringoes, kimchi and pickled products from Locktown Farm in Flemington, pork from Purely Farm in Pipersville, Penn. and chicken from Griggstown Farm in Princeton, among many other locally sourced items.
The Clean Plate Kitchen launched its new seasonal menu about two weeks ago with items such as grilled Purely Farm bone-in pork chop topped with sautéed apples and caramelized onions with maple-spiced carrots and bacon-roasted Brussels sprouts ($27); an appetizer of carrot, beet and mixed vegetable latkes finished with an avocado dipping sauce ($9); and a lunch dish of hearty vegan chili made with black beans, chickpeas, quinoa and butternut squash with a hint of chipotle and cumin topped with optional Maple Hill yogurt ($13).
In a cozy, eclectic décor with funky additions such as hanging hand-painted plates, the Clean Plate Kitchen can seat 65 people inside and 70 people outdoors on its patio, which overlooks the south branch of the Raritan River and the iconic Red Mill Museum Village.
And even if your next meal isn’t at the Clean Plate Kitchen, there are many ways in which you can eat cleaner — at home and at restaurants — to stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions.
Here are some tips from Piazza:
How to eat clean at home and out in 2018
- Be mindful of what you are putting into your body
- Eat things that are closer to nature, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and meats that you know where they came from
- When you are hungry, choose something that is nutritionally valuable versus whatever is the closest thing. To make this easier for those on the go, make sure you have healthy snacks handy
- Start your day with a nourishing breakfast which will set the tone for the rest of the day
- Feel free to splurge on occasion with your favorite foods, but maintain some kind of balance
- Ask a lot of questions when out to eat at restaurants — you should be able to ask a server what is in a dish and where it came from.