By: Joe Niehaus
For the past few decades, we’ve been marketed to by large restaurant companies claiming to be healthy, local, “better for you,” etc. They told us they were just… so much better than those evil fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s that serve “fried food” (scare quotes) and use ground red meat. These upstart concepts used earthy colors like green and brown in their branding, created open-kitchen stores that allowed customers to watch as their food was prepared, and put photos of farms on their websites and promotional materials.
Of course, grilled vegetables and real cuts of meat are probably more nutritious than the so-called “pink slime” chicken nuggets or greasy (and delicious) cheese pizza delivered to your doorstep, but at the same time, these real-kitchen chains are using seed oils in everything. They’re cooking their grains in rice bran oil, using sunflower oil as their #1 ingredient in salad dressings, or making their tortillas with canola oil. Underneath the feel-good imagery and leafy greens is a horrific dousing of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids).
In New York City, Springbone Kitchen is doing its part to change the fast-casual dining landscape to an authentic culinary escape. With its unadulterated menu of bone broths, bowls, and salads, Springbone truly is “changing the way we think about food,” or whatever line Chipotle likes to use.
During busy careers in banking and real estate, Springbone founders Jordan Feldman and Sam Eckstein were looking for food options that were quick and convenient, cost effective, and, most importantly, actually healthy. Restaurant after restaurant, they were left longing for more after establishments across the city (like those alluded to above) advertised something different than what they actually served.
“Restaurants that seemed healthy on the surface, we would go in and ask ‘What oils are you using for cooking?,’ ‘How are you sourcing your meat?,’ questions like that. And every time we got to that level the answers we got were extremely disappointing. Invariably [they were cooking with] different seed oils, purchasing low-quality meat, and using branding and marketing to make it seem like they were serving a healthy product,” Feldman told me.
The pair opened their first restaurant in 2016 in Greenwich Village and, at the time of writing, have six locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Springbone’s menu is fairly simple; it’s essentially just broth and bowls. But mmmmm, do they look tasty.
Choose between classic chicken or beef broth, both simmered with vegetables and herbs. Additionally the chicken is free range and the beef is grass fed. If you’re feeling fancy, Springbone also has some unique concoctions including their Immunity Broth which has ginger, garlic, and vitamin C added or their Liquid Gold which has coconut milk and turmeric. Similar to coffee shops, you can order a small, medium, or large of the broth, starting at $4.95 for the classic chicken option.
Spanish rice cooked in bone broth, free-range chicken, 100% grass-fed beef barbacoa, roasted brussels, cashew Caesar dressing… these are just a few of the ingredients on Springbone’s food menu, so you really can’t go wrong. The best part? The popular Mexican bowl is in the $14 price range—not bad at all for a filling rice and beans bowl with free-range chicken, topped with guac!
Once COVID hit in early 2020 and NYC restaurants were shut down, Springbone wanted to find a way to still serve customers in avenues other than their brick-and-mortar shops. “We still had all this kitchen space and a lot of our customers went home to where they were from if they didn’t live in New York and there were so many requests like ‘I still want your broth.’ We basically started freezing our broth, packaging it into glass Mason jars, and we set up a pretty simple website and to this day it’s become super popular,” Feldman said.
The Springbone online store offers their famous broths, a hot sauce, and a grain-free granola. If you’re a super fan, you can also set up a reoccurring broth subscription for a discount. It’s like the Netflix of Chicken Broth, bro. The coolest (or warmest) part about ordering broth from Springbone online is that they hand make it in a big pot, over a low flame for 18+ hours—the same method humans have used for thousands of years. It’s not made in some industrial factory and bottled up; it’s made by real people in Springbone’s actual kitchens then delivered to your doorstep.
I was able to try the broth and hot sauce and wow, it is tasty. Like the broth, the hot sauce is made in small batches in the restaurants. Thankfully, it’s made with 100% pure olive oil, unlike store-bought brands almost certainly being made with canola oil (I’m terrified to look at the ingredients list on the bottle of Kroger’s buffalo sauce in my fridge right now, which I’m sad to report has been my favorite condiment recently). Springbone’s hot sauce has a nice kick, and smooth aftertaste. Not too spicy, not too mild.
The broth was salty, satisfying, and oddly energizing; I felt like I was getting real nutrients that gave me energy throughout the day. Also, it’s easy to drink like coffee or tea, straight from the mug. The hot sauce is a welcome addition to any at-home meals. Shop for Springbone’s Broth (starting at $22) and Hot Sauce (starting at $6.95) for some seed oil-free flavor over at shop.springbone.com.
Springbone is tackling a problem in an exciting and authentic way. I’m super bummed I don’t live in New York or this would be somewhere I’d eat at at least twice a week. Especially in the winter, nothing sounds better than some hot broth on a brisk walk around the city.
You can find Springbone on the Seed Oil Scout app along with 100+ other seed oil-free establishments!