S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill offers healthy dining options
Tanya “Ty” Richardson, a Cleveland-area native, serves healthy meals at The S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.
Richardson, who developed an interest in fitness at a young age, used to operate S.O.F.E. (Studio One Fitness Events), a gym in Bedford. Richardson said that her clients were interested in adopting healthy eating habits to accompany their fitness regimens, so she closed the gym and opened a restaurant with the same name. “I decided I wanted to get more into the food than the exercise,” she said.
Richardson, a self-taught cook, said that she created the restaurant’s menu without testing the recipes. She said that she likes to combine flavors and is open to suggestions about her dishes. “I’ve always been crazy about food,” she said.
According to Richardson, the goal of the S.O.F.E. restaurant, which opened in April, is to show people that many healthy meal options are tasty. She said that 90 percent of the ingredients at S.O.F.E. are fresh foods. The menu is free of red meat and features many vegetarian options, including salads and wraps. “I feel good encouraging people to eat here every day,” Richardson said.
S.O.F.E., which mainly serves carry-out orders, offers breakfast all day. Richardson said that the dairy-free soy milkshakes, fresh-fruit smoothies and 10 turkey burger options are very popular. She encourages patrons to try her favorite menu item, the salmon burger.
The restaurant is decorated with a large, colorful chalkboard that displays some of the menu items. Richardson said that she enjoys her new location in Cleveland Heights, especially the “eclectic demographic” that enters her restaurant. “They’re very engaging,” she said.
Like the neighborhood, S.O.F.E. has a welcoming environment. Richardson said that she values customer service and a relaxed atmosphere, and her employees dance to a variety of music during the day. “It’s a really fun place to work,” she said.
Richardson has not abandoned her passion for fitness training. She teaches cardio kickboxing and hip-hop classes at the Naturally Gifted Fitness Center on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, and plans to open a S.O.F.E. Express location at the center.
Richardson said that she was born to be an entrepreneur. In the future, she hopes to open additional S.O.F.E. locations that are convenient for customers. “I plan to expand,” she said.
The S.O.F.E. Wholefoods Grill
2240 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights
Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Simone Jasper is a 2012 graduate of Beaumont School. She studies print journalism at Elon University and is an intern at the Heights Observer.