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Taste of the Town: Muscle Maker Grill offers up healthier fare

Muscle Maker Grill in St. Charles offers a variety of wrap sandwiches.
Muscle Maker Grill in St. Charles offers a variety of wrap sandwiches.

In a sea of fast food options, Muscle Maker Grill aims to serve up healthier fare.

Since January, Muscle Maker Grill has been serving high-protein, low-calorie meals at its location at 1840 W. Main St. in St. Charles. Muscle Maker Grill’s mission is spelled out in its motto – “Great food with your health in mind.”

It is the chain’s second location in Illinois.

“Muscle Maker Grill is based on the East Coast,” said Jose Venegas, who owns and operates the St. Charles restaurant with Jeff Cade. “They are trying to bring the concept to the Midwest.”

The other Illinois restaurant is in Rolling Meadows, which Venegas had managed for a year prior to his current position. Muscle Maker Grill was founded in 1995 in New Jersey, and today there are more than 200 Muscle Maker Grill restaurants open or under development throughout the United States.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. Muscle Maker Grill sets itself apart from other restaurants in many ways.

“We don’t fry products here, and our sauces are gluten free,” Cade said. “Our beef is grass fed, and our chicken is all natural.”

Muscle Maker Grill is recommended by, a site run by dietitians. For those counting calories, patrons will find that information clearly listed on the menu.

“I don’t know of another franchise that does healthy meals,” Venegas said. “Plus, the food is good. The food sells itself.”

The restaurant offers an array of options, from salads with gluten-free dressings to wraps, burgers and pasta. During the Lenten season, Muscle Maker Grill is serving such items as a crab burger and the Holy Guacamole Fish Wrap.

Muscle Maker Grill also takes requests from customers.

“We listen to their feedback,” Venegas said. “If we hear a lot of people asking for a certain thing, we will try to accommodate them.”

The restaurant also sells fruit smoothies with no sugar added, along with protein shakes, which have proved to be popular.

“Sometimes [customers] come in just for our protein shakes,” Venegas said.

Muscle Maker Grill has been partnering with nearby health clubs, including the XSport Fitness club located a few blocks from the restaurant.

“The trainers at the club are referring their members here,” Venegas said.

But the restaurant also is seeing customers who are just looking to eat healthier.

“We have a good mix, from high school students to senior citizens,” Cade said.

Muscle Maker Grill, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For information, visit or call 847-660-7409. Muscle Maker Grill also offers delivery and catering.

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