Have you ever tried to order a custom smoothie bowl and then winced at the final price? Or wondered why everything branded “healthy” is also expensive? One of our local businesses in Fort Lauderdale is seeking to change that. Vale Food Co started out as the dream of a university student to make healthy food convenient and accessible, and has grown into a fast casual restaurant chain with six locations! We caught up with their founder, Sunny Ilyas, to learn more about their story and how they’re involved in the local Fort Lauderdale community.
Hi Sunny! How did Vale Food Co get started?
In 2014, I was studying Exercise Physiology at Florida State University, and I noticed there was a gap in Tallahassee’s market for healthy food options. Since my degree was focused on health and nutrition, I naturally was drawn to the opportunity to solve the problem of the lack of healthy food options that were delicious, convenient, and affordable. That’s where my vision of Vale Food Co came into the picture. I started off by cooking and operating a meal delivery service, which grew to 400 subscribers. By 2016, Vale was launched into a fast casual restaurant model in Tallahassee with the opening of the first location in Collegetown. Today, we have six Vale locations throughout Florida and are constantly looking to expand!
How are you involved in the Fort Lauderdale community?
We believe delicious, convenient and affordable food should be available to everyone! Whether it’s a fresh chia pudding or protein bowl, we love introducing Vale to new guests and seeing our loyal customers come in and be blown away by our food each time. It’s been so rewarding watching Vale Food Co grow throughout Fort Lauderdale over the past few years and continue to expand to make healthy food more available to everyone!
What’s one of your favorite recipes at the moment?
I enjoy a variety of Vale dishes like the chia pudding or an açai bowl for breakfast, and our poke bowls are a refreshing healthy snack. For something more filling, I’ll go for the build-your-own protein bowl with Vale classics like the Ancho Pulled Chicken, Vegan Buffalo Tenders or Turkey Spinach Feta Meatballs.
How can people follow your expansion?
We have a lot of new exciting launches and plans for Vale Food Co and are always striving to grow and expand the brand. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay in the know of all the updates!