We were lucky to catch up with Kris Buchanan recently and have shared our conversation below.
Kris, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – walk us through the story?
In the middle of covid our neighbor in the adjoining suite left. We decided to double down and take over the space. Obviously it was a uncertain time. We launched an elevated dinner menu, opened a market and built a WINE LOUNGE.
What I thought was missing in our town was a place to go with a friend or on a date night and have a drink in an environment that wasn’t a crazy, loud bar. I wanted couches, string lights, chill music and of course I wanted organic food and good low sugar wine. I know there are people like me who are over the bar scene, so I wanted to create this magical space. But we doubled our rent to $24k/month! We were banking that when things calmed down with the pandemic people would want to come out to dinner again.
Kris, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I opened my first restaurant, GOODONYA Deli, in 2001. I have learned a lot in the past 20 years that separates us from most brands. Being a restaurant owner I have a much different perspective than the typical brand owner. I stand in front of our customers, take their money, and literally watch the food I make go in their body. That is a massive responsibility, and one that is sadly overlooked. GOODONYA is a registered California Benefit Corporation. That means we exist to do benefit and it’s in our DNA to do the right thing by you. I am also a certified holistic nutritionist, so I really do think about health over profits.
Our food system is honestly pretty bad. I am obsessed with ingredients, from how they are grown to how they are processed and how they end up in the food we eat. Sure my friends think I am a bit bananas, but you know what, all food makers and restaurant owners should pay this much attention. There are a lot of different opinions, diets, fads….and straight up nonsense out there, it’s hard to sift through it all. But it’s my passion and that detail goes into every single thing we make. When I do not know the answer, or things seem confusing, I go back to nature.
Nature knows the answer.
GOODONYA is a nature-inspired, organic food and beverage brand, now based in Encinitas, California.
Our restaurant is Organic and 100% Non GMO, which is virtually unheard of. We do things in here I am so proud of I can’t wait for you to visit us. I also create organic products so you can have GOODONYA with you wherever you go.
We are a nature inspired brand to our core. We live, work and play in the ocean and mountains. We make food you know and love with truly natural ingredients. That means Certified Organic and even beyond that when possible. Every single ingredient we choose, in everything we make, nature guides us. We believe real food & the way we feel have a direction connection, and that life is too short not to feel GOOD.
My former life was spent as an elite athlete. I ate lots of processed carbs, fast food and a ridiculous amount of sugar. Sports drinks in particular contributed to 100+ grams of sugar day. You might be shocked to hear that, but it’s all too common with athletes. When you are young, fit and an Olympian you burn it off! We were also given most of this “food” for free.
High intensity exercise + processed food + sugar = a dangerous combination for the immune system.
For me, in 2007, it all came crashing down in the form of a few autoimmune disorders. Celiac and Hashimotos crushed my energy. I was also severely hypoglycemic, all of that sugar was catching up and my pancreas couldn’t handle it. I was on the road to Type 1 diabetes. Talk about a wake-up call! I went back to school for holistic nutrition where I learned that 70-80% of my immune system is IN my digestive tract. Yikes!
It’s not a hard line to draw that food is a major contributor to our overall health.
So, here I was a restaurant owner, making food for 1000’s of people, it was time to step up my game. I revamped everything I could personally in my life and everything I made for others in the restaurant. I also wanted these things to travel with me, which is why started creating products. GOODONYA HYDRATE is the answer to one of the products that sent my health down the wrong path. No more sugary, toxic sports drinks! I can’t wait for you to try it. And I hope you can make it into the restaurant to meet us.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
I think being an Olympic athlete has taught me the resilience to stick through the hard times. I played on the US team for 12 years and it was a living in a constant state challenge, stress, and competition.
Covid was the most challenging time in my 21 years of owing GOODONYA but easy compared with my athletic time. But sticking with it through this storm made me all in love with my business and this industry again. The community came out to support us, the yelp reviews stopped, and everyone realized that independent restaurants were truly part of the fabric of our community. I think something like 200k independent restaurants closed during covid nationwide. Some of these will be replaced with fast food/chains. Which is devastating.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
We don’t have a massive following but every follower we do have is real. We built it by just being ourselves. And I think people are craving real-ness from brands more and more. We also are very fortunate that a lot of influencers that are “foodies” come to eat at our restaurant and post about us without asking for anything. We are very lucky to have their support.
- Website: https://goodonyaorganic.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goodonyaorganic/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodonyaorganic
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/3117430/admin/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/goodonyaorganic
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwRseHAs_FKE7BATE9StX9g
- Yelp: yelp should be shut down, they are criminals and the whole platform is ruining society and our ability to communicate.
We take them all ourselves :)