Monique Rugile discovered the secret to creating healthy, well-cooked meals early on in her culinary education. “One of my first instructors always said, ‘Healthy food is worthless if it’s not delicious,’” she says. “So, at Rugile’s Kitchen, we put an emphasis on both.” That’s exactly what Monique and her brother, James, do--serve wholesome, healthy food that is “good enough to eat.”
Both siblings attended different culinary schools. Originally from Colorado, Monique attended the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder and was trained in cooking methods that emphasized nutrition and natural foods as well as vegetarian cuisine and alternative diets. She worked as a personal chef for several years but eventually went back to culinary school to be trained in traditional French-style cooking.
James attended Johnson & Wales in Denver, and over the years, his work specialized in farm-to-table dining. He moved here three years ago to combine talents with Monique as she grew her customized meal delivery business—and soon enough, a restaurant in downtown Haworth was in the works—opening in March of this year.
Rugile’s Kitchen is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., serving up a healthy variety of salads, soups, bowls, burgers, and smoothies made from the freshest ingredients.
We specialize in American fare,” says Monique. “We want our menu to be approachable—highlighting fresh and healthy ingredients. We always seek to find the balance between nutritious and delicious, ‘feel good’ food. Our customers leave here feeling nourished and satiated after a good meal.”
Monique and James are quick to note that they are happy to accommodate special diets and food sensitivities. The majority of their dishes can be customized for dairy-free or gluten-free diets. “We accommodate special diets whenever we can,” says Monique.
Innovative dishes and mouth-watering combinations are the fruits of the brother and sister team’s creativity. They have developed a business model that presents a warm and inviting casual restaurant setting and a popular “to go” option for busy, working families tired of the typical pizza or take-out routine. Mouth-watering menu selections include their Lake Shore Bowl with seared salmon, charred green beans, carrots, broccoli, and other veggies; the “Hawt Honey,” featuring hot honey fried chicken sandwich with shredded lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and whole grain mustard aioli; and the Park Street BBQ Burger showcasing locally-sourced beef with crispy bacon and all the fixings.
“People are looking for fresh, quick, healthy options, says Monique. “Our take-out meals are especially appealing to working families because it’s a nice alternative to fast food.”
“We have a good mix of dine-in and take-out customers,” says James. “It’s easy for people to order online and get it delivered--it is becoming very popular.”
The restaurant runs weekly specials and focuses on a seasonal menu highlighting fresh ingredients. “We draw upon our past experiences and have a good understanding of our customers and what they are looking for,” says James. “Quality ingredients, simply prepared with minimal processing and not overcomplicated. Our food is healthy, appealing, creative, and thoughtful. We understand the demand and enjoy getting feedback from our community. It’s food that makes you feel good and is good for you.”
"Healthy food is worthless if it’s not delicious"