Business Spotlights

Business Profile: Muscle Maker Grill, White Plains

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Muscle Maker Grill, the White Plains eatery that celebrated its grand opening this past Saturday, is bringing a new kind of fast food experience to Westchester diners.

The New Jersey-based franchise, which is run by partners Mike Bonfiglio and Mario Iannelli, provides customers with healthy, great tasting food, be it American, Asian, American, Cajun, Italian, Mexican or southwestern cuisine ─ but without the unwanted fats, oils and carbohydrates.

Unable to find a restaurant that served food with the correct nutrition he required, founder Ron Silva created Muscle Maker Grill in 1995 with the intention of creating tasty, nutritious meals and “great food with your health in mind,” now the company motto. In 2007, Silva turned his initial idea into a franchise, and today there are approximately 200 Muscle Maker Grills throughout the nation.

Bonfiglio, who also runs a construction company, teamed up with Iannelli, a 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry. Iannelli is the former owner of Iannelli’s Restaurant, a White Plains business that is now closed.

After talking to other Muscle Maker Grill franchisees and conducting research on restaurants that focus on creating health-conscious food, the two felt that opening up such an establishment in Westchester would be a good idea.

“For someone who’s looking for healthy, quick food, I don’t think there’s a contender here,” said Bonfiglio.

At the White Plains location (which used to house Brooklyn’s Famous Subs & Pasta), customers will find what’s readily available at other Muscle Maker Grill locations, explained Bonfiglio. All of the food is freshly prepared based on proprietary recipes and the menu, all made to order, is lean and protein-based. Customers can also order a variety of all-natural smoothies in assorted flavors as well as protein shakes, which are healthy enough to replace a full meal.

Every item on the menu has a total calorie count next to it. For example, the loaded baked potato contains broccoli and reduced fat cheddar cheese and is 209 calories. A “Rocky Balboa Wrap,” which consists of grilled chicken breast, turkey meatballs, reduced fat mozzarella and marinara in an herb wrap is 680 calories, while the Cajun chicken and penne, one of a variety of “Power Pasta” dishes, accounts for 330 calories.

Bonfiglio has a few favorites of his own, including the “Arizona,” a combination of turkey bacon over brown rice with tomatoes, scallions and a gluten-free, zero carbohydrate signature sauce, all for 291 calories.

Since opening a little over a month ago, Bonfiglio said customer feedback has been good. “We’re offering a menu that works,” he said. “It’s easy to replicate that, and people seem to like the consistency.” The restaurant caters to a wide variety of customers, some old, some young, but what brings them to Muscle Maker, said Bonfiglio, is their desire to eat well and take care of themselves.

The staff of seven, which includes manager Catherine Fraietta, along with Bonfiglio and Iannelli, was required to complete a thorough training program prior to opening. The business partners also received guidance on the design of the store and the purchasing of equipment.

While Muscle Maker Grill offers the same quick, convenient benefits of fast food, the kitchen staff is trained to cook without all of the unwanted ingredients that typically go into fast food, explained Bonfiglio.

The restaurant only uses lean chicken breast, USDA steak, turkey meat and turkey bacon. Whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread are the preference, and chefs use zero fat sour cream, low-fat cheeses, together with fat free and zero carbohydrate salad dressings.

Because chefs at the White Plains restaurant are following a company-wide formula, the menu itself is easy to put together, noted Bonfiglio “Once you prep the food, it’s simply a matter of putting together the pieces of the puzzle.”

Muscle Maker is located at 51 Court Street, White Plains. It caters to corporate and private parties, operates a take out service and also delivers. The restaurant is open six days a week, Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m to 11 p.m. To order, call (914) 686-4444 or fax (914) 686-4446. For more information on the Muscle Maker Grill brand, visit


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