Monday, April 4, 2011

Inside Real Naked Foods

It seems like just yesterday it was November and I was in Alaska spending $1-plus per minute digital roaming on my cell phone working on whatever the latest pipeline was, and chatting with Lauren Yuca, owner of Real Naked Food, which opened this past Thursday at 1909 W. Division.

At the time, if my memory serves correct, Real Naked Foods was hoping to open within the month, though it took longer than planned to get the place up to code, as the story usually goes.

The spacious storefront featuring loads of natural sunlight and reclaimed wood flooring offers lots of naked-- literally--foods, such as carrots, potatoes, lemons, eggplants, and bananas. There's packaged organic cotton candy (more like Astronaut food, at $2.99 per-hermetically-sealed-batch and not Marge Simpson hair on a stick) at the front counter.

I particularly enjoyed the bins of nuts and sweets like yogurt and chocolate covered pretzels, all available in bulk. The seven chocolate pretzels I devoured after realizing it was 3PM and I hadn't eaten much all day were just 57 or 59 cents.

Organic walnut and lentil juices, made by "smoothie sommelier" Nathan Wyse, are expected to be introduced next week, along with a deli counter.

Per Lauren, the impetus for opening Real Naked Foods was a similar store she saw in London, and the fact that Wicker Park has a very European feel to it, especially Division St. A former pharmaceutical sales rep, with a degree in nursing, Lauren told The Pipeline that it was the birth of her son, now age 2, which inspired her to think seriously about the implications of chemicals in food as well as what she describes as the "veil of secrecy" behind vaccinations.

Though the sweets are not made in-house, Lauren says that she works with local companies and food suppliers who are certified Organic.

"We want to provide people with alternatives to processed foods and chemical preservatives," Lauren said.

Thanks to Real Naked Food for joining the Pipeline 100!

ALL Listings in the printed booklet, due out in June, will contain retail hours.

For now (hours may change, per Lauren), Real Naked Food's hours are:

Monday-Friday, 8AM-7:30PM
Saturday 10AM to 6PM
Sunday 10AM to 4PM.

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