Life Alive expands into Kendall and Davis Square – The Business Journals


Life Alive Organic Cafe is expanding its footprint this summer, opening its eighth location this week in Cambridge, with plans to open its ninth location in Davis Square in August. 
The growing chain of plant-based fast-casual food is scheduled to open its Kendall Square cafe, at 415 Main St., in Cambridge on June 28. The restaurant features 100 seats and a large outdoor patio. The Davis Square cafe, at 20-40 Holland St. in Somerville, will feature 75 seats and an outdoor patio. 
In March, Life Alive expanded into Harvard Square with its sixth location, and it opened its seventh cafe in the South End last month. 
Bryan Timko, Life Alive CEO, said that even though Life Alive is a vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, his research has shown that only 10% of Americans consider themselves vegetarians and only 5% vegan. The demand comes from the 40% of Americans trying to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and less meat. 
“We saw that there are not that many places out there that are great and satisfying and are actually good for you,” Timko said. “We thought, wow, we are pretty good at this. Why not look at expanding to neighboring communities in Cambridge and Boston?”
To celebrate the new openings along the MBTA Red Line, Life Alive is bringing a bit of the past into the present by accepting vintage MBTA T tokens in exchange for a free grain bowl, salad or broth bowl during each cafe’s opening week. 
Longtime residents, who might have kept a few tokens stashed away, as well as younger residents who may never have laid an eye on one, will have the opportunity to use them. Life Alive staffers plan to hand out vintage T tokens — which they purchased from a local antique store — at nearby Davis and Kendall/MIT MBTA subway stops leading up to an opening day at both cafes. 
After decommissioning the token 10 years ago, this will be the first time token holders will be able to put them to use. In the era of inflation and high gas prices, the T tokens, which sold for $1.25 per ride in the early 1990s, will now be able to get a customer an $11 meal, Timko said. 
Life Alive will commission a local artist to create a piece of work featuring the tokens as their medium. When finished, the two new cafes will feature the art.
“The artwork will be a little bit of local history in these amazing local neighborhoods and will be there forever,” Timko said. 
The expansion of Life Alive doesn’t stop here, according to Timko. 
“We are opening these four cafes this year, but we do have some bigger plans in the future to see how this goes and see how broadly America is looking to eat like this and have a solution for it,” he said. “We have a view that Life Alive could be the cornerstone of plant-eating, and what we like to say positive eating, in the country.” 
Beth Treffeisen is an ACBJ reporting intern
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