Spring 2015 was full of anxiety for Kalle LeMone, BS BA ’06, as she prepared to open her first restaurant, Nourish, at 1202 E. Broadway, Suite B, in downtown Columbia. She had a clear niche and an appealing menu she was passionate about, but would the customers come? For years, LeMone had been shopping a few local grocery stores to piece together a diet of local, organic foods. But as a busy expectant mother, she would love to have frequented a restaurant that catered to her tastes. No such eatery existed in CoMo, so she decided to create her own.
When LeMone opened Nourish Café and Market June 5, 2016, with co-owner and head chef Kimber Dean, the moment fulfilled a dream she’d had since graduating from MU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2006.
The restaurant’s sustainability philosophy ensures that foods are organic (lacking chemical fertilizers and pesticides) and are grown in mid-Missouri as much as possible. LeMone and Dean also create dishes that are not only low-calorie but also dense in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Nourish’s dining area is bright and designed with plenty of greenery. The sustainability theme continues in the use of recyclable to-go containers, utensils and cups as well as in its practice of composting food scraps. The owners believe in supporting local growers, as do their customers. All of their dishes are made from scratch; every morning someone makes the almond and cashew milks, breads and juices.
LeMone didn’t always eat so well. “I grew up on Hamburger Helper and Dunkaroos,” says the St. Joseph, Missouri, native. Eventually, she wanted to feel better, and she knew a better diet and more exercise would help. She began by eating more vegetables and using spices to add flavor. “Don’t be afraid of fats.Don’t be afraid to season things. That’s what gives it flavor,” she says. “There is nothing worse than grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies.”
As for the restaurant’s name, LeMone says it embodies everything the business stands for. “It just means nourishing yourself from the inside out,” she says. “Not only with food but the way you treat yourself. It’s just about nourishing your body, mind and spirit all together.”