In a culture where people seek everyday conveniences, the quality of our food is one of the first things to suffer. It is more and more difficult to find a healthy meal outside of the home, where food quality isn’t compromised. I discovered Tāst Eatery in Fort Lee, NJ less than a year ago, and as I got to know the owner Yong Shin, I realized how admirable it is that he has chosen to serve high quality food to the community. As someone who grew up in the bagel business selling processed meats, Yong knew that was not the business he wanted to be in.
Tāst was born during the housing bubble, when Yong originally had his architectural practice. He was driven by his desire to create a bigger impact in the world and felt it could be better done through food than homes.
I sat down with Yong to learn more about his 8-year old business and what goes on behind the scenes.
What is the meaning behind the name Tāst?
The word “taste” embodies everything from the taste of food, to your preference of food and to things like taste in clothing and music. It was the perfect lifestyle brand once we dropped the e and added the long accent over the a.
How would you describe the food at Tāst?
We have something for everyone here. We wanted a place for the average person could come and eat something simple like a burger and yet still have it be a healthy meal. The food is friendly to the average person and encourages people to try foods they wouldn’t normally try themselves. What started to happen was that customers who may have never tried things like kale or quinoa is now starting to eat it everyday. Our food is as clean as possible and not loaded with sauces. We have a range of offerings- influenced by Middle Eastern, Latin American, Asian and American fare.
What and who is involved in the menu planning?
I develop the meals and then work with a nutritionist to help with ingredient combinations for specific mood boosting and health benefits like the fertility booster, get happy and get appetite plates or the hung over salad and jigar salad which is good for your liver.
How do you source your food?
I buy from specific farms that have sustainable practices, organically rich soil and least amount of pesticides as possible. Red meats are 100% pasture-raised, grass fed. Poultry and eggs are cage-free from an Amish Farm in PA. Anything that comes from the ground is mostly organic depending on the season.
As a regular customer at Tāst, my absolute favorite dish, pictured above, is the breakfast quinoa bowl. Bowl includes quinoa, asparagus, broccoli, kale, potatoes, over easy egg and red pesto. YUM!
Tāst is located at Fort Lee, NJ www.tast.us