Lululemon’s experimental store in Chicago
Lululemon, the brand whose yoga pants and sports bras you may or may not live in, is getting into the food game.
The company’s first-ever experiential store opens in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and it’s completely different from any lulu boutique you’ve entered before: The 20,000-square-foot store is filled with a massive retail space, two fitness studios, a meditation space, areas for visitors to sit and work, and Fuel Space, a restaurant-meets-coffee-shop with a menu that will surprise you.
At first glance, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a health and wellness brand. There’s avocado toast, smoothies, and power bowls. Everything is made with fresh, in-season produce and there’s plenty of grass-fed meat and non-dairy milk to be found. But more indulgent items are sprinkled into the mix, too: chocolate-covered bacon on the snack menu; a cheeseburger topped with caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese; and even wine, cocktails, and beer.
“We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” told Maureen Erickson, VP of Experiential Retail “We know our guest—what they need today might look different from what they need tomorrow to live their best life.”
As such, the menu aims to fill many needs: There are on-the-go options, like smoothies (which can be pre-ordered before classes) and ready-made protein boxes, salads, and snacks, as well as a made-to-order menu for guests looking to dine in. Both cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner with things like acai bowls, roasted beet salads, wheatberry power bowls, and the aforementioned burger—plus, a Beyond burger, of course. And throughout, diners will see items that cater to every type of diet you can imagine: keto, paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, etc.
As for beverages, there’s a range of coffee and tea options, plus bone broth and kombucha, the latter of which is served on tap. Smoothies, which cost $10, are made with of-the-moment ingredients like MCT oil, chia seeds, and marine collagen.
The project, which has been a “what if” for nearly eight years, Maureen says, has been seriously in the works for the last two years. Beyond Fuel Space, the space will offer yoga, HIIT, and meditation classes seven days a week, host community events, and of course, sell lululemon gear. Visitors who book a class—which are $25 for a drop-in or between $20 and $24 with a package—can try out lululemon gear during workouts for no extra cost.
Some of that money will go to a good cause, too. As part of lululemon’s Here to Be partnership, 2 percent of all class fees will benefit I Grow Chicago, a local nonprofit that supports the community of Englewood through children’s programming, a community kitchen, and workforce training.
The Lincoln Park experiential store is open now at 944 W North Avenue in Chicago.