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The Coast News

Healthy, organic food without the hype at GOODONYA

David Boylan

Readers may have sensed based on some recent columns that I am not the biggest fan of
healthy eating. That’s not the case at all, I just want my good-for-me food to taste good and
that’s happening at GOODONYA in Encinitas. Sure, they have gluten free bread but, and this is a
big but…they also have Prager Brothers Bread which is some of the best in San Diego and it’s
not gluten free. Smart move GOODONYA!
Kris and Bren Buchanan own GOODONYA and Kris described their approach to food perfectly.
“We are absolutely not into promoting specific diets. You won’t see “vegan” or “paleo” all over
our menu. We promote organic, sustainable and local. We do offer plant based, paleo, dairy
free, and gluten free but do not limit our menu to that. I’ve seen too many friends follow
dogmatic diets and not understand real food. I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan; he has an
awesome real food, common sense approach to eating. Some people do well with certain diets;
I have issues when people push those diets onto others. One thing I know for certain is that we
are all different and thrive with different approaches.” She added, “A surfer can come here and
get a California Burrito and leave feeling nourished as opposed to full, sleepy and weighed
down. He can come with his girlfriend who is a vegan and gluten free and she can have the
Veggie Bowl, and they are both happy. And the meal is 100% Organic.” I love that approach!
Both Kris and Bren have interesting backgrounds as well. Kris grew up in Tierrasanta eating
candy, Wonder Bread and food that was convenient for her mom to make. She went to Serra
High School where she excelled at Field Hockey, well enough to get a full ride to The University
of Iowa. She made the US team her sophomore year and went on to participate in 3 World
Cups, 3 Pan American Games, 3 Olympic qualifying teams and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She
is a member of the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame and the University of Iowa Hall of Fame.
Bren comes from a midwestern athletic background as well. Wisconsin specifically with a mom
who loved to cook. As she puts it, “It was very meat and potato focused, with cheese on every
meal. I never developed a taste for seafood because of the lack of it in Wisconsin. I don’t think I
knew what an avocado was until high school. A typical meal would be a small salad, steak, and
baked potato. I would say we ate meat about 4-5 times a week.” Her career steered her
towards the golf industry in North County and that led to meeting Kris about 20 years ago. Both
surfers, Bren lived in Encinitas and Kris Solana Beach and they were married in 2011.
Kris had her sights on the restaurant life since her first job in an office park deli when she was
15. The name came about through her extensive field hockey travels, which often included
Australia. “GOOD ON YA” was a common saying there when someone did something well; “well
done, good job”. She was trying to think of a name for my restaurant and that sounded like a
healthy name.

Because of their very visible around Encinitas 1970 restored VW bus wrapped in their logo,
people think they started out as a nutrition bar company. They were sold in all the local natural
food stores but the bar came much later. Kris explained, “We actually had 5 office park deli
locations all over San Diego. The Encinitas location was our office. But multiple times a day
people walked in asking us when we were going to open, thinking it was one of our delis. We
ran out of money to support the bars growth. So we converted the office to a restaurant and
here we are. We only have the Encinitas location now and this menu is an evolution of all I
learned over the years.”
They started all this prior to organic being a movement. The first GOODONYA opened in 2000
and has evolved into what they call organic real food. Simple and fresh food that is
approachable and easy to understand. They even have organic wine and beer on tap as well as
kombucha of course. Everything I tried there was really tasty. The salads, bowls and all the
breakfast choices are solid. It would be nice to see the Prager bread on the dinner menu but
other than that all is good. The glass of wine with the healthy stuff is a nice balance. They also
have a cocktail called the Out Cider. It’s made with raw hard cider, an Italian aperitif and the
smallest touch of raw honey. It’s all organic, low sugar and super healthy. Yes please.
Their kitchen and floor team are all super friendly and on top of the menu. They are all about
transparency of ingredients so ask away.
Find GOODONYA at 1051 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas. Or 858.264.8550 Open 7 days 6:30am – 9pm.

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