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One of Chicago’s most eligible bachelors is opening a healthy foods restaurant called The Protein Bar in Penn Quarter on Wednesday. Matt Matros, named the Windy City’s 4th most eligible man by Chicago’s Modern Luxury magazine last year, started the chain in 2009 and has big expansion plans for the Washington area.
The 33-year-old says he wasn’t always so sexy. He was a heavy kid growing up in Los Angeles: “It didn’t help that my name was Matt, because I heard all the fat jokes in the book.” On top of that, his father, who led an unhealthy lifestyle, died when Matros was young.
In his early 20s, Matros became a sports agent for baseball players and began to realize he was heading down the same path as his father. So, Matros switched to a high-protein diet and lost 50 pounds over the course of six months. He lost an additional ten pounds over the next few years.
Matros ended up going getting his MBA at the University of Michigan and went on to work for Kraft Foods, where he was brand manager of cheese. “I was around very highly processed foods,” Matros says. “It’s just really not great stuff to put in your body.” During his three and half years there, he realized there was no place that sold the kind of food he wanted to eat, and The Protein Bar was born. Today, he has five locations in Chicago.
Matros’ weight-loss diet consisted primarily of the smoothies that he now sells at The Protein Bar. In particular, Matros says he drinks “The Blue Line” with vanilla protein, almond milk, blueberries, and banana nearly every morning after working out. The menu also includes raw juices, quinoa bowls, salads, and “bar-ritos.” Matros says he eats the buffalo “bar-rito” with chicken, organic quinoa, blue cheese, salad, and vegan buffalo sauce nearly every day for lunch.
The Protein Bar already has plans for a Ballston location at 800 N. Glebe Rd. in October or November. Matros says he also plans to open two more locations—one in D.C. and one in Virginia—by mid-2013. All of which means Matros will be spending plenty of time here. Ladies, look out.
The Protein Bar, 398 7th St. NW; (202) 621-9574; theproteinbar.com.
Photo courtesy The Protein Bar