Now Serving: Spanish Brown Rice

Who loves flavored rice? We do!

Who doesn’t love all the sodium in most flavored rices? We don’t!

And nor should you. That’s why today’s news will make many of you very happy campers – we’re launching Spanish Brown Rice at all Pump locations! (Can you tell we’re a little excited? It’s just that good.)

So as of today, you can have your spicy flavored rice…and eat it, too. Without needing a gallon of water to counter the salt overdose. That’s pretty cool.

The Secret’s in the Spice

How did we get a rice that’s so flavorful without relying on salt? Well, that’s our little secret. But I’m horrible at keeping secrets, so I’m going to let you in on it.

Our own Chef Danny, who’s always finding innovative ways to add a healthful spin to the food we serve, starts by taking long-grain brown rice and cooking it until it’s perfectly tender with a slight bite. Meanwhile, he chops Spanish onions, red peppers, jalapenos, and prepares his “spice packet.” Only this spice packet isn’t made with anything artificial, and it doesn’t come out looking like some suspicious powder-like substance. No, no…this is the real deal. Danny combines chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and a pinch of sea salt. Then he adds it to the peppers and onions, which have been cooked in a little olive oil, folds in the brown rice, and voila! Our new Spanish Brown Rice is ready for some lucky Pump customers.

Low in Sodium. High in Fiber.

Guess how much sodium is in 1 serving? Less than 200 mg. Is that good, you may be asking? Well, let’s compare it to the boxed variety. Far East has 640 mg per serving and Zattarain’s has more than 500 mg. I rest my case.

We beat them in fiber content as well. We’ve got 4 grams of fiber per serving and the others have only 1 and 2 grams, respectively. Not too shabby. Complete nutritional information below.

So our Spanish Brown Rice has just as much flavor, but since it’s made from scratch with nothing but whole ingredients, it’s much better for you. It’s a pretty special dish, in our opinion. Thanks, Chef Danny.

So why are you just sitting there reading this blog post right now? (Thanks for reading it, btw.) Get up, head over to The Pump, and order yourself some of our new Spanish Brown Rice!

Then let us know what you think here in the comments, whether it be positive or negative. We always love to hear from you.

P.S. For those of you who aren’t into Spanish Rice, you can still get our regular brown rice. That isn’t going anywhere.

Nutritional Facts for Spanish Brown Rice

Serving: 1 oz

Calories: 170

Calories from fat: 19

Calories from saturated fat: 3

Total fat: 2 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbohydrates: 34 grams

Dietary fiber: 4 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

Sodium: 203 miligrams

Chicken Post Redux — An Update and Response

Hi Everyone –

Adam here.

Our post on switching from Murray’s Chicken to Nature’s Sensation Chicken by Allen’s has received some attention so I am writing to clarify a few points and explain our position on the topic. Here goes.

We’re big fans of Murray’s chicken.

They’ve been a great partner to us since late 2008, and it’s entirely possible that we’ll work with them again in the future. We never claimed nor meant to imply that Murray’s chicken was commodity chicken, and it should never be described as such. If this was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize. For the record, Murray’s chicken is NOT commodity chicken.

Allen’s new line of Nature’s Sensation Chicken is not commodity chicken either.

We’ve done our homework on Allen’s (countless hours of research, conversations and a visit to one of their farms, a processing facility, etc.), and we stand by our decision to serve their Nature’s Sensation product. Let me clarify as to why.

Nature’s Sensation Chicken is antibiotic-free (ABF).

This is absolutely critical as far as we are concerned – it’s the most important criterion in our hierarchy. ABF means that to the extent a chicken falls ill, it cannot be treated with drugs and sold as an ABF chicken. All ABF chickens are held to this standard.

How is this different from commodity chickens? Commodity chickens are packed into environments whereby the opportunity for illness is relatively high, thus necessitating the administration of antibiotics and/or other drugs when they fall ill. These chickens are then sold to consumers.

We buy only ABF chicken from Allen’s, and their chickens are raised in humane ways (more on that below) that make them much less susceptible to falling ill.

Tracing back their roots over 90 years, Allen’s primary business has been that of commodity chicken. This is 100% true. But the chicken industry has changed dramatically over the last 90 years, and Allen’s has changed with it.

Over the past decade or two, we have all embraced higher standards for the foods that we eat, and we now hold our food producers to much higher standards. This is a great thing and a big part of our food philosophy here at The Pump. As this has occurred, demand for naturally-raised, antibiotic-free chicken has grown and new brands have come into the marketplace to satisfy this demand (Bell and Evans, Coleman, Freebird, Murray’s, etc.).

Similarly, Allen’s began to develop a program to support a new line of ABF chicken under the name Nature’s Sensation. This product is NOT commodity chicken.These birds are not stuffed into tight quarters and injected with antibiotics to keep them artificially “healthy” so they can grow and be processed. They are fed a vegetarian diet that is completely different than that of the commodity chickens. Allen’s has protocols in place for the proper separation of ABF birds from the commodity birds that allow for proper traceability all the way back to the extent they would ever need to conduct a recall. We have seen these protocols firsthand, and they are sound.

We would encourage you to visit the farm as well as those of other ABF producers to compare their operations yourselves. We have done this for both Murray’s and Allen’s.

In general, we are always speaking with folks who process ABF chicken because we realize that as we build more restaurants, our volume requirements will grow, and we will not likely be able to rely on a single supplier. We began to speak with Allen’s several months ago, and after visiting their facilities in Delaware, meeting with the people and seeing the birds, we decided that their Nature’s Sensation line of chicken meets our standards. We have been working with their chicken for over a month now.

We appreciate that the optics of working with a large producer with a line of ABF chicken are not ideal. One might assume that, given their history as a large producer, they could never really produce, market or sell anything but commodity chicken. But we visited both a growing house and a processing facility, and we feel differently.

We acknowledge that Allen’s Nature’s Sensation Chicken is not Certified Humane.

While Allen’s ABF chicken meets (and often exceeds) the standards of several certifying bodies, it does not carry the Certified Humane certification. The only brandon the market today that carries this certification is Murray’s. This is great and one of the many reasons we’re big fans of Murray’s chicken.

But as a large buyer of chicken, it is impossible for us to limit ourselves to working with just a single chicken producer. There are several very high quality, non-commodity brands on the market, and for the reasons discussed above, we have chosen Allen’s line of Nature’s Sensation Chicken. If this is a deal-breaker for you as customer, then we respect your decision and hope you’ll give us another shot someday.

One last point of clarification. It seems that many people are concerned about the fact that we serve chicken that is not raised outdoors. The unfortunate truth is that we have never served chicken that is raised outdoors – Certified Humane, Murray’s or otherwise. Every ABF chicken producer (that we know of) in this day and age raises their chickens indoors. This is not to say that we would not support and embrace outdoor growing conditions – we would if it were practicable. But the reality is that it is not – most chickens (at any level of scale) are grown indoors.

Where we go from here.

As we move forward, we will continue to research and gather information from Allen’s and other potential partners. The exchange we have had over the past week has pushed us to dig further with Allen’s and make sure that we’re comfortable with our decison. For that, we sincerely thank you. And we assure you that to the extent that new facts are brought to light that change our view, we will absolutely make a change.

That being said, we as a company put a lot of stock in what we are able to see with our own two eyes and touch with our own two hands. Labels and certifications are important, but as many of us know, they do not always tell the full story. The integrity of the food we serve and the transparency with which we serve it are at the very core of what we do and this will not change. Ever.

Thanks again for reaching out and sharing your opinions. Your comments and feedback are making us better at what we do, and for that we’re very grateful.


A New Year, A New Pump: Our 55th Street Location Reopens Today

So it’s the first day back at work after the New Year. Hope you’re all well-rested and ready to hit the ground running. We have some exciting news for you just as you’re kicking off your healthful eating routine for 2011: our newly renovated 55th Street restaurant is now open for business!

This new version of The Pump is still the most healthful food option in town–we’ve just made it yummier. We’ve been working around the clock for the past two weeks to make sure we opened on time, and we’re really proud to unveil the new decor and menu. Here’s a quick rundown of all the changes–hope you like them!

New menu with fresher options and a focus on home-cooked meals

We think you’re really going to like the new menu. We continue to be guided by our decade-old philosophy of serving balanced, nutritious meals that also taste great, but now our food is better for you and there’s more variety. Click here to check out the new menu and see what we mean.

We also created a Pump meal cheat sheet that will help you re-create some of your old favorites from the new menu. For example, if you’re a fan of our old “Diesel” plate, you could try the new “Lumberjack” plate. It features our juicy lean beef, 3-bean vegetarian chili, brown rice, homemade hummus, and balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty stuff.

Healthful eating made easy

If you’re trying to improve your eating habits in 2011, look no further. Every item on our menu is prepared in-house each morning with tons of TLC (the only exception being our baked goods, which we get delivered fresh each morning from Sensible Edibles Bakery). We serve top-notch proteins (all natural, no antibiotics, hormones, etc), locally sourced seasonal vegetables, housemade sauces, and absolutely zero processed foods.

We also make all our food facts available online, and you can build your own meal using The Pump’s handy online ordering website (complete with nutritional calculator). We operate our kitchen with total transparency. No secrets. No hidden agenda.

Juice juice juice… Serving both cold-pressed juice & blended shakes

We realize it’s the dead of winter, but it’s never too chilly for cold-pressed juice. You’ll find our full line of Liquid Pump juices at the new 55th street location. If you’re not sure what cold-pressed juice is, then please check out this handy juice flyer that lays out the basics. In short, if you need to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, this is the way to do it. You can get more than a day’s worth of dark leafy greens with just one bottle of our Greens + Apple (kale, romaine, parsley, spinach, cucumber & apple), and we have 6 other super healthful varieties as well.

Don’t think juice is for you? You may want to reconsider. We make our case in this juice post here on The Pump Blog.

A cool new interior design

We sourced reclaimed wood for the planked floor; hung vintage, one-of-a-kind wallpaper (something you’d probably see in grandma’s kitchen); adorned the wood shelving with antique scales and juice presses from (what a sweet website, btw); and stacked wooden produce crates in the corner for extra storage space. We took some inspiration from our Brooklyn neighbors and added our own spin.

New hours, serving lunch and dinner only

Our new hours are 11am to 9pm on Monday-Friday and on Sunday, and 12pm to 8pm on Saturday. Unfortunately, that means we’re no longer serving breakfast (no more eggs). We’re very sorry to disappoint those of you who liked our breakfast menu, but we were just spreading ourselves too thin by trying to do all three meals. We think you’ll be very happy with all the attention we’re now giving to lunch and dinner.

Just as before, we offer walk-in, take-out, and delivery, but now you can order online on our website as well. And, of course, Seamless Web users can find us there, too.

We really hope you like these changes. It’s with great pride that we continue to serve you fresh, honest, and responsible food. Although we serve our meals quickly (we know how busy life can get), we don’t take any shortcuts in the kitchen.

Thanks for your continued support in 2011, and we hope you’ll drop a comment or two below about your experience at the new Pump. We always love to hear from you.

– The Pump Team

The Pump Feeds the Hungry with Veggie Burgers

Tis the season for giving, right? That’s why we gave away 113 cases of veggie burgers last night to City Harvest, an organization that helps feed the hungry. That’s 4,068 nutritionally packed patties that will go to food kitchens in New York City. It gives us great joy to give back to our community.

Get a load of this. Boxes of the burgers await the pick up. Luckily it’s super cold outside! Each box has 36 patties inside.

Here’s us loading them into the City Harvest truck. That’s a lot of veggie patties! There’s Sean in the truck, and Shantel and Adria lent a hand outside. Looks like these guys are getting some exercise…

This is what happens when you pull a box from the bottom. It’ll topple. Kinda a bonehead move. The burgers, luckily, were unharmed. My toe is still throbbing though.

We feel good about giving these away. It’s an item that we sold at our 55th street restaurant but have since discontinued in order to focus on other elements of the Pump menu like our organic tofu or baked falafel.

Although these veggie burgers don’t fit into our new menu philosophy (we explain why here), they’re still filled with nutritional benefits. Made from ground raw sunflower seeds, brown rice, carrots, herbs and a little sea salt, these meatless patties are high in protein and a great source of energy.

Thanks, City Harvest, for helping us help others.  Happy New Year New York!