120 June Street
Le Mirage, located at 120 June Street here in Worcester, MA, is now WooFood Certified! So what can you expect at Le Mirage? Established in 2004, they serve authentic Middle Eastern and Italian food. Their enthusiastic servers are sure to provide great service. On the weekends, you can expect live music. Whether you are looking for lunch, dinner, or a gift certificate one of our newest WooFood Certified Restaurants will meet and exceed your expectations for tasty options!
According to the owner, Dianne, it is "A pleasure to the palate of the harshest critic." So what are you waiting for? Give them a try today!
120 June Street
Looking to cater for a group of 15? What about 15,000? SAVOR at the DCU Center is now WooFood Certified and can handle just about anything.
We were very happy when SAVOR at the DCU Center contacted WooFood with an interest in becoming certified. SAVOR provides high quality catering services at small to very, very large scales both in-house and otherwise.
The DCU Center which was encouraged to become WooFood Certified by the City of Worcester (which it is owned by) is managed by SMG and SAVOR - the exclusive caterer for the DCU Center. WooFood was pleased to hear that other chefs had recommended to the chefs at SAVOR that becoming WooFood Certified is a great thing to get involved in. Jason Grayson and the staff at the DCU Center were a pleasure to work with which explains the high quality services they have already provided.
“We are proud to be the first catering company and venue in Worcester to become WooFood certified,”
stated Jason Grayson, Director of Food & Beverage for SAVOR… at the DCU Center. “Our menu already
had many healthy options; however, we’ve rewritten and created a new menu specifically highlighting our
WooFood certified selections, which makes it easier for our patrons and clients to make healthier decisions.”
The new catering menu features a delicious supplement with options that include 100% whole grains, vegetarian choices and lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Promoters, event organizers and meeting planners that are considering catering as part of their event at the DCU Center will find sustainable options that reflect the needs of many guests and participants. Those options will be clearly marked with a WooFood symbol.
The DCU Center consists of two main venues: the Arena and the Convention Center. The Arena opened in Sept 1982 and the Convention Center was added in 1997. The Arena plays host to a variety of concerts, family and sporting events while the Convention Center caters to trade shows- like the New England Business Expo, Worcester Home Show & Healthy Living Expo, Auto Show, etc, conferences, conventions, corporate meetings, private functions and more.
Café Manzi's on Shrewsbury Street--WooFood Silver Certified
352 Shrewsbury St.
Worcester, MA 01605
WooFood is proud to welcome Cafe Manzi's as the newest Certified restaurant! Cafe Manzi's is a family owned and operated restaurant that aims to satisfy each and every customer who walks through the door. Specializing in Italian, Middle Eastern, and traditional American food, all of the food served is home-made using fresh ingredients, family recipes, and a lot of heart.
Brian Manzi, owner and chef, devotes a lot of energy and creativity into everything he serves his customers each and every day. Brian grew up in an Italian family eating and learning to cook many traditional meals. Throughout his teenage years he spent much time learning from his grandfather how to cook and working in a butcher shop and family owned pizza shop. Since then Brian's passion has been cooking and making others happy with his delicious and creative meals. He and his wife Stephanie opened Cafe Manzi's in June 2010 and want to continue to maintain close relationships with their customers and continue to get to know them on first name basis.
Cafe Manzi's serves a full menu of breakfast and lunch: Tuesday - Sunday, dinner on Thurs, Friday and Saturday nights along with a full banquet & catering Menu with a wide variety of choices and prices.
FAMILY OWNED * OFFERS OUTSIDE SEATING * BYOB
What does WooFood Silver mean?
Cafe Manzi has gone beyond the Basics for your health and wellbeing. A Silver certified restaurant has met all WooFood Basic requirements plus all Silver pre-requisites and an additional 80 points earned in a variety of ways. This doesn't mean there aren't any unhealthy choices, as WooFood's policy is to respect freedom of choice.
WooFood Certified Meals
“Veggie Breakfast Quesadilla” and
“Vegetarian Egg White Omlette” with homemade oatmeal.
Grilled Vegetable Panini: grilled red peppers and zucchini topped with mozzarella cheese and balsamic reduction pressed between thick whole wheat Panini
Mediterranean Salad with chick peas, black olives, lettuce tomatoes, onions and 1oz of feta cheese, lemon mint vinaigrette
APPETIZERS: Hummus Tahini, Baba Ganoush, and Tabouli
Vegetarian Mezcolanza: Sautéed broccoli, almonds, raisins, pine nuts and chick peas in light garlic sauce served over wheat pasta
Marinated Chicken Kabob: Marinated chicken, peppers, onions, zucchini, and squash, served over whole grain brown rice
Café Manzi offers fresh seasonal fruit as a dessert option
A healthful Kids menu! All kids options are served with side vegetables or side salad
Whole grains are available for all items!
Dinner for Now and Tomorrow's Chow - Cafe Manzi will wrap up half your meal before you begin for a better portion size and great value!
Over the past few months, WooFood has experienced an incredible amount of growth. We have begun working with some amazing Certification Specialists and made significant progress with restaurants throughout Worcester. We now have over 1000 "Likes" on Facebook. We've begun to regularly produce blog posts, and many more restaurants are on the cusp of becoming certified. Now, we feel it's appropriate to re-introduce WooFood.
For those of you who would like to see an even more in-depth look at WooFood, check out our Press Page.
So what is WooFood?
WooFood is a non-profit organization that seeks to make the healthy choice the easy choice in restaurants. We utilize something known as "Choice Architecture" to build a restaurant experience that promotes healthful choices. So what the heck does that mean? One simple example is the default option. Often times, when you go out to eat, the default option is not a very healthy option, regardless of what you order. There are not enough vegetables, too much cheese, too large portion size, etc. We want to make the default (automatic) option a healthful option but leave the customer with the option to make it less healthful, if they so desire. To learn more, read on!
What can I expect at a WooFood Certified Restaurant?
1.The healthful choice is the easy choice. WooFood doesn't take away choice, but does want to make the better choice easier for you to make. Many WooFood certified restaurants offer to "Make it WooFood Certified" and will make you a more healthful version of their most popular dishes on request.
2. Healthful options that are clearly marked with the WooFood logo. At least two of these options will be vegetarian and at least one will be non-vegetarian. For WooFood, it isn't enough to have something that is just healthful. We want to make sure that it tastes good.
3. An easy way to reduce portion size (most of our restaurants offer "Dinner For Now, Tomorrow's Chow" which means half of your meal gets wrapped up to bring home and half is brought out hot and fresh!). If you're like most people, it's game over if you're hungry and a giant plate of food is put in front of you.
Is WooFood a vegetarian, local, or organic movement?
No! While these movements do often encourage healthful eating, you can have something that is local and organic that is NOT healthy (I'm looking at you, Mr. local organic bacon...). WooFood supports restaurants using local and organic ingredients, but we do not require it for certification.
"You certified a dessert place??"
This is a completely valid question, which the WooFood founders struggled with when creating the WooFood Criteria. Because WooFood is a public health organization, it was decided that it is better to encourage healthful practices into any and every type of venue willing to implement them. WooBerry, our first WooFood Certified dessert venue showed outstanding initiative in implementing changes. The WooFood dessert criteria states that a WooFood certified dessert should consist of greater than or equal to 50% fresh fruit without sugar added. This is very possible at WooBerry as fresh fruit makes up many of their toppings. WooFood dessert criteria does not exclude any ingredients all-together. This is being realistic in the sense that it is better from a public health perspective to encourage a large number of people to improve their dessert choices by a moderate amount, than a negligible number of people to choose completely healthful desserts (for example - 100% fruit only).
"I went to a WooFood Certified Restaurant and there were a TON of unhealthy options"
WooFood is not here to restrict choice! While we would love to see every option be healthful, we feel people should be able to order and eat whatever they wish. You can look at our criteria for the specifics, but for basic certification we require 3 WooFood Certified dishes that are guaranteed healthful- 2 that are vegetarian and 1 that is NON-vegetarian. In addition, many restaurants are offering to "Make it WooFood Certified" and may be able to modify any or at least their most popular items on request to give them a wholesome boost; more vegetables, whole grains, and lighter on the heavy stuff (cream, cheese, red or processed meat).
A restaurant is free to offer any choice it wishes. The goal is to improve the ability to make healthful choices at any restaurant- not simply point out the healthiest ones. Of note, WooFood does have multiple levels of Certification, so a restaurant with more healthful choices by default would be recognized as Silver or Gold certified.
My favorite restaurant is SUPER healthy, and they aren't Certified
WooFood would love to certify them if they are willing to meet the criteria and become part of the program! Of note, WooFood does not simply "choose" restaurants. Any restaurant is welcome to contact WooFood to become certified.
Questions? Comments? Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
You may have seen our little Facebook Campaign to get more likes than McDonald's (below). Why is WooFood after more likes than McDonald's? Do we have something against McDonald's? Read on....
The Proverbial Scapegoat
McDonald's has been picked on quite a bit. From Fast Food Nation to Supersize Me, McDonald's, even more than other fast food chains, Micky D's has become the proverbial scapegoat for all that is obese in America (and even the world). Do a quick Google Image search of McDonald's and at least a third of them are satirical takes on the McDonald's golden arches, or a less-than-beneficent Ronald McDonald.
Doesn't McDonald's have salads now, so all is good in the world?
Oh Salads... See the great Bud Light ad below and that's all we have to say about that. Actually, McDonald's does a great job with their happy meal. In July 2011, McDonald's halved the portions of fries and made it so that all happy meals automatically came with apple slices. In fact, this is a perfectly executed WooFood Certified Concept! (Note: McDonald's is not a WooFood Certified restaurant). Before apples automatically came with a meal, a mere 11% of parents would actively request them (an example of choice architecture at its worst).
Would you like fries with that?
Unfortunately, McDonald's also uses choice architecture for evil. Well maybe they don't see it that way... WooFood and McDonald's both utilize behavioral psychology immensely. At a WooFood certified restaurant, it's not enough to have apple slices or salads (even if they are healthy) if no one is going to choose them. One strategy that influences people's decisions is to verbally offer them a choice, rather than it just being available on the menu. Wait staff at WooFood Certified restaurants are trained to ask "Would you like to make that WooFood Certified?" which is a cue to the cook to give your meal a boost of vegetables, whole grains, and go easy on the artery clogging ingredients. This is in contrast to the ubiquitous "Would you like fries with that?" or "Would you like to Supersize that?" which is an extremely effective use of choice architecture... if your goal is to cause extreme suffering in the form of strokes, blindness, limb loss, and heart attacks. *note - this may sound dramatic... but unfortunately this is what we see on a daily basis without an ounce of exaggeration!
The WooFood Philosophy
WooFood prides itself in making meaningful changes in food culture by being business friendly and considerate of constraints- especially on small businesses. We are acutely aware that if WooFood certification is too cumbersome, or doesn't make financial sense for a business, it's going to fail. We do our best to be very responsive to restaurant concerns, and assign a personal Certification Specialist to each restaurant for their first point of contact. Although we work mostly with small businesses and enjoy this, WooFood has no rules against working with a restaurant chain. If it's going to improve public health, then WooFood is probably interested. Even McDonald's is eligible for WooFood certification. In fact, their sophisticated choice architecture policies might make them particularly adept at fulfilling WooFood criteria. They would just have to start using those powers for the light side of the force...
So Why Does WooFood Want More Likes than McDonalds?
Here at WooFood we are always looking to improve! We are always looking for ways to help our restaurants integrate more healthful options. We're always looking to get more restaurants Certified. So when it came to our facebook page, we thought, "we're just shy of 1000 votes, why not try to get more 'likes' than McDonalds?" We set the bar high, will you help us get there?
What Does WooFood Do?
WooFood was founded to make the healthful choice the easy choice. But what does that mean? The WooFood criteria is always available for viewing on our website... but who wants to scroll through a bunch of text? In an effort to demystify the WooFood criteria, I decided to post some examples from a recent weekend trip to Montreal.
It's easy to misinterpret WooFood's mission to improve public health as an all-or-nothing campaign to get everyone to eat "health" food. In fact, WooFood wants to improve health as well wellness and enjoyment of life for all people - not only those with rock solid self discipline looking to follow a strict, bland, or difficult to adhere-to diet.
Indulging while eating well
In his book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan addresses the French Paradox, where the French seem to have a low rate of chronic diseases such as heart disease, despite indulging in a diet rich in saturated fat, by suggesting that perhaps what we have is really an American Paradox, where we can't fathom that people could actually enjoy their food while living practically disease free while we spend countless dollars and frustrating efforts on fad diets and weight loss programs. What exactly is the deal with the French Paradox? First, we must be careful not to exonerate all saturated fat, especially that which comes from meat and dairy. As the director for the Yale prevention research center points out, the Lyon Heart Study found a 70% lower rate of second heart attacks in a group eating a Mediterranean diet high in monounsaturated fats as compared to a typical "French" diet which is higher in saturated fats. (1) So saturated fat (at least the type in dairy and meats) is still bad.. so what might account for French people being healthier overall?
There are plenty of theories and WooFood isn't about to take on all of them in this post. However, small portion sizes and moderation is most definitely a theme in just about all of them. Food journalist Michael Pollan also suggests that it may be a little less about too much bad food, but too little good food like fresh fruits and vegetables that leads to our currently dismal health outcomes.
Finding WooFood Certified Concepts
So let's consider Montreal, where 50% of families speak French at home the poor man's trip to France (that's me) assuming many of the French culinary traditions have settled there as well. The examples to follow may not meet "WooFood Certified" criteria in every respect, but each one represents a WooFood Certified Concept that is part of the WooFood criteria - and would contribute to a restaurant's overall level of certification.
Sauted Duck Confit Over Greens from L'evidant
WooFood Certified Concept: >50% vegetables
Make it WooFood Certified: Going a little lighter on the meat (to under 3 ounces) would make this a WooFood certified dish; more than enough for flavor without putting too much of a strain on your health.
Duck Confit in and of itelf is not likely the most healthful substance on the planet, but it is quite tasty. Typically, it's cured in salt and rendered in its own fat; certainly not a recipe for WooFood certification. However, the fact that >50% of this dish is greens perfectly represents a WooFood Certified concept; the more dishes that come with >50% vegetables such as this, that a restaurant offers, the more points that can be earned for a higher level of certification. It's also a great example of a great meal centered on greens with a garnishing of meat, rather than a 32 oz main course when flavor is really the goal!
Poutine et Salade from Patitipatata
WooFood Certified Concept: 50% vegetables, default choice
Make it WooFood Certified: Portions are still pretty large here, but it's definitely a start.
Poutine - a French-Canadian dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. WooFood Certified? About as far from it as you can get. But can you expect people to stop eating it all together? Good luck!
So here is a simple and elegant solution; listed plainly on the menu is an option to get 1/2 salad, 1/2 poutine. WooFood emphasizes portion size and proportions. Though the total portion of poutine is still a bit hefty here, the proportions are right on. Why should you have to choose "healthy" or "unhealthy" all the time? The fact that this half salad/half poutine option is listed on the menu (rather than only by special request) makes it more likely that people will have a salad if they choose poutine, while moderating the amount of saturated fat, sodium, and simple starches but still satisfying that craving.
Scotch Ale from Reservoir
WooFood Certified Concept: reasonable portion size
Alcohol; also sometimes accredited with responsibility for the French Paradox (though usually in the form of red wine). In fact, it has been well established that modest amounts of alcohol in any form can positively impact cardiovascular health (but that's another blog post). (2)
The key here is the portion size. At about 12 ounces, this is actually the standard drink size referred to when following the recommended "1-2" drinks today for men and "1 or less" for women. What's more, the smaller portion makes you enjoy every sip a little bit more, and I actually enjoyed drinking out of it more than the traditional Pint glass that's so ubiquitous in the states. This goes along with the concept of mindful eating or drinking in this case (still another blog post).
Eggs Benedict from L'express
WooFood Certified Concept: Default with 50% Fruit, creativity
When faced with a decision: Eggs Benedict? or Fruit Salad, which do you think wins out?
So why have to make that decision? Another WooFood criteria is to have more dishes come with 50% or more fruit (or vegetables). Though it's hard to certify "creativity", the artistic effort that went in to the carved apple and splayed strawberry are quite evident. It basically says; fruit is not an afterthought which is exactly what we would love to see at WooFood certified restaurants. Potatoes don't count as a vegetable under WooFood standards, but nothing (including the WooFood criteria) says that you can't have any potatoes. Another WooFood certified concept might include offering this as a half dish (1 egg) - enough to satisfy that craving without overeating while enjoying a substantial variety of fruit (included apple, banana, orange, strawberry, blueberries, grapefruit, cantelope, mango, kiwi and apricot, by the way. When is the last time you saw a fruit salad like that??
Pad Thai - from Crudessance
WooFood Certified Concept: Exceptionally healthful with exceptional taste.
Some may firmly believe that taste and healthfulness of a dish are inversely related. I guarantee that they have not tried this dish. This rendition of Pad Thai made with Zuchinni noodles and topped with perfectly crunchy sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat was simply amazing. While a meal does not have to be vegan or gluten free as this one is, it would most certainly qualify as a WooFood Certified dish while perfectly illustrating a point; this is quite possibly the most healthful and delicious meal I've ever had.
This is just a small range of what WooFood criteria is promoting. Other criteria include serving whole grain options as the default, offering smaller portion sizes or the ability to wrap up half your meal before you eat it, and a wait staff that is actively engaged in promoting the most healthful and fresh dishes.
Have you spotted any WooFood Certified concepts while out at a restaurant or maybe you have your own recipe and picture to go along with it? Share it with us either by commenting or submitting to email@example.com and you may be featured as our WooFood Concept of the Week.
P.S. be on the lookout for a certain Worcester restaurant that embraces the French Paradox to soon be WooFood Certified...
(1) Katz, David M.D., Is all Saturated Fat the Same? The Huffington Post. Posted 6/14/2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/saturated-fat_b_875401.html
(2) Di Castelnuovo A, Costanzo S, Bagnardi V, et al. Alcohol dosing and total mortality in men and women: an updated meta-analysis of 34 prospective studies. Arch Intern Med 2006; 166:2437
Who says that art should be restricted to the canvasses at the Worcester Art Museum? With an updated menu, the Café at WAM is serving food that even an art critic would love. Whether you're visiting the Museum's galleries or stopping in just for lunch, The Museum Café is sure to pleasantly surprise. Choose from a delectable selection of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts. Dine indoors or experience one of Worcester's few outdoor courtyard cafes. The outdoor courtyard is beautiful and quiet- allowing you to escape the busy city life! See below for some pictures.
Outdoor seating at Worcester Art Museum
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 11:30am-2pm
WooFood Welcomes its 4th WooFood Certified Restaurant: Museum Cafe, located in the Worcester Art Museum.
The owner Laurie Krohn worked at Bread and Circus (Whole Foods before it was Whole Foods), so WooFood certification was a natural fit. Check out the Museum Cafe on WorcesterScene
What does WooFood Silver mean?
Museum Cafe has gone beyond the Basics for your wellbeing. A Silver certified restaurant has met all WooFood Basic requirements plus all Silver pre-requisites and an additional 65 points earned in a variety of ways.
Anyone who has been to Nancy Chang’s Restaurant knows that the food is delicious, healthful, and many options are WooFood Certified. But did you know that you can get these options to go? We were recently at an event catered by Nancy Chang’s, and can personally vouch to this!
The food was hot, delicious, and WooFood Certified. I was impressed that they were able to serve such high quality options outside of the restaurant. The menu featured appetizers that included scallops and a main entrée of salmon with steamed vegetables & rice. The most impressive part was the sauces- boy did they pack a punch!
Why take our word for it? Check out it out for yourself!
To arrange your next event, contact them at: 508-752-8899 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions for WooFood? Let us know
Nancy Chang's is a WooFood Silver Certified Restaurant, showing a serious commitment to health without sacrificing taste. You can expect Asian cuisine that is delicious. They are located at 372 Chandler Street in Worcester. Check them out to see one of WooFood's most committed Restaurants!!
The Rhino's new spring menu went live today.
Twice a year, the Flying Rhino revamps it's entire menu - and part of the perks of being WooFood founders is that we get to attend the menu tasting (where the wait staff gets a first impression of all the new dishes) so we can personally vouch for the amazing dishes that Chef Mark created along with owners Paul and Melina Barber. Coco Lime Salmon served over flash cooked green beans was my personal favorite.
From a WooFood perspective, The Flying Rhino has progressed by leaps and bounds. While their last menu had only one WooFood entree. Now there are FIVE (and many more sandwiches, salads, and appetizers). To the surprise of some (not us at WooFood of course), the WooFood certified dishes on the past menu were top sellers - The Voodoo Swordfish (THE top seller), the Falafel Wrap (both still available), and the Farro salad (replaced by the Quinoa Salad for the Spring menu)
See the new WooFood Certified menu and a new WooFood Certified KIDS menu below:
WooFood for Kids
This version of the menu brings with it a new Kids menu with three WooFood Certified meals! This is a huge priority for WooFood and one that the Flying Rhino has tackled head on. Kids menus are often seen as detrimental to kids health - implying that they should be eating less healthful food, rather than learning how to love more complex and healthful meals!
The Flying Rhino is located at 278 Shrewsbury St Worcester, MA
You can now see which restaurants are WooFood Certified at WorcesterScene.com (credit for the image to the left as well)
Have you tried any of the Rhino's WooFood certified dishes? Leave a comment below!
As both founders of WooFood and students at UMass Medical School, we have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional physicians who are not only amazing clinicians and teachers, but have a passion and community dedication that far exceeds the norm. Dr. Hugh Silk, a Family Physician at Hahnemann Family Health Center is without a question one of these physicians.
As part of a charity auction hosted at UMass, Dr. Silk along with another exceptional physician, Dr. Ennis hosted a culinary restaurant tour of Worcester for several students during my first year at UMass. Because linking community, health, and enjoyment of the culinary scene is what WooFood is all about, what better guest blogger is there?
One of Dr. Silk's community causes is oral health - something too often overlooked by doctors and society. The author Michael Pollan writes in the book In Defense of Food that cultures eating traditional diets often had better oral health than we have today, even without access to dentists, so I decided to ask Dr. Silk what the connection is between food and oral health.
Hugh Silk, MD
I am writing this blog for woofood.org for 3 reasons - 1) I want to applaud the organizers of woofood.org - great idea; 2) because I think food is one of the 4 main tenets* of good overall health and wellness especially food that is local and "real"; 3) because I also think oral health is very important and so wanted to make a comment about this latter topic as it relates to a healthful diet.
Oral health affects overall health - it's that simple. Cavities lead to infections leads to getting very sick OR missing school and work OR not being able to eat and not growing well, etc, etc. Periodontitis or deep inflammation of the gums is associated with heart disease, diabetes and other full body health issues. You don't floss and/or you don't brush often or you don't go see your dentist and your mouth problems can turn into major health problems.
And FOOD plays a BIG role in this process. When you eat food, your mouth goes into an acidic state for 40 minutes after eating because bacteria in your mouth turn the sugars into acid. This is how you get cavities. Some food and drinks are worse than others. Eating simple sugars is the worse. Soda (or pop where I come from) is extremely bad, juice not too much better; desserts and candy are awful. This brings us to woofood.org. So best to buy from places that have offerings of fruits and vegetables and whole grains (brown bread and pasta) and meats/chicken and fish (if you eat them).
If you are going to eat sugary foods and drinks - do them at meal time.. You are already creating acid in your mouth - go whole hog. Then brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum (if you can't get to a brush) to increase your saliva which also protects your teeth. When it comes to eating healthy snacks - drink water or milk; eat fruits, vegetables or foods with less sugar like cheese. Farmers markets are perfect for finding healthy snacks to have at home or on the run. And they are local so the products being sold have many other good elements for being healthy (besides you will be helping local farmers keeping doing what they are doing!). There are many restaurants in Worcester that offer healthy choices. Continue to visit this website to check out the offerings. And most of the time - advice that is good for your teeth is also good for your waistline. In a country that has an obesity problem, we all need to snack less and eat more food and drinks that are healthy in a reasonable size portions. So... choose healthy; don't eat or drink too much of those healthy choices; avoid sugary things between meals; brush or chew sugarfree gum after meals/snacks....And keep checking out woofood.org to find those healthy options.
Hugh Silk, MD
[* the other 3 tenets to good overall health are: consistent physical activity (not necessarily exercise); strong social networks (including family, friends, a partner, clubs, religious gatherings); and having a sense of purpose (a job, a calling, a faith, volunteering, etc).]