Sweat Diaries

These MontCo Restaurant Owners Cook as Many Delicious Meals at Home as They Do at Work

Dan and Chelsea Katz, owners of the West Avenue Grille in Jenkintown, share their joint Sweat Diary.


 

restaurant sweat diary

Dan and Chelsea Katz own West Avenue Grille in Jenkintown. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

Who we are: Dan Katz (@dkatz22), 35, and Chelsea Katz (@chelsea.katz), 30, from Ambler

What we do: We are the owners of Jenkintown’s West Avenue Grille (@westavegrille_jenkintown), a breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot that also specializes in catering. Dan oversees all the daily operations, customer service, and food execution, and Chelsea handles all catering and private event inquires. Together, we curate new seasonal menus and recipes.

What role healthy living plays in our lives: Staying healthy is part of our overall lifestyle. We have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Dakota (and a son on the way), who we want to set healthy examples for. Not only is it important, but it’s also necessary with Chelsea currently being pregnant and Dan’s dairy allergy. Being around food all the time, it’s a balance of being able to stay on track while still living a fulfilled life.

Health Memberships: Dan pays $40 a month for live streaming workouts on our Peloton, and Chelsea pays $180 per every 10-class package at Barre3.

Monday

restaurant sweat diary

Whole Foods haul for the week. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

7:15 a.m. — Monday is the only day the restaurant is closed, so that means two things: sleeping with no alarm (that’s not internal)  and family day. Once we wake up, Dan checks his emails while Chelsea gets a few extra minutes of shut-eye.

7:30 a.m. — Dan makes a Nespresso for himself and brings one to Chelsea, who is now snuggling in bed with our daughter watching Paw Patrol before he heads down to the basement to take a Peloton class.

8:30 a.m. — Chelsea makes a morning snack of berries and oatmeal to share with Dakota before making Dan a protein shake to eat after his workout and shower. We quickly switch parenting roles as Chelsea heads out the door to catch a Barre3 class with her favorite instructor, Jess Cutsler.

10 a.m. — We go out to breakfast at one of our favorite neighborhood cafes. Dan orders his usual egg white scramble with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and homemade dairy-free tomato soup ($15) and Chelsea an avocado toast with scrambled egg whites ($9.50.) They both plan on sharing some of Dakota’s açai bowl that she will never finish and order a coffee and a tea ($5.50).

12:30 p.m. — We arrive home so Dakota can nap. Dan does his food inventory and payroll while Chelsea goes food shopping for the week at Whole Foods Market ($116). She buys a lot of fresh fruit, veggies, and lean proteins. Organic grapes, berries, apples, bananas, broccoli, peppers, eggs, Greek yogurt, dairy-free almond milk, ground turkey, and cheese are in the mix. She stopped and grabbed Dan some of his favorite chicken salad ($8) on the way home to eat for lunch. She makes them each an iceberg lettuce wrap; Dan eats his with tons of spicy brown mustard and Chelsea with sliced tomato.

5 p.m. — Chelsea starts to prepare dinner. Since the weather has been so nice, grilling every night has been a no-brainer. Tonight’s menu includes turkey burgers, asparagus, onions, and an arugula salad. We eat early with our schedule.

7 p.m. — Dan finishes cleaning up while Chelsea showers then has bath and bed time routine for the baby.

8:30 p.m. — We wind down from our day, converse about our schedule for the week at our kitchen island over a couple spoonfuls of mint chocolate chip Halo Top ice cream for Chelsea and the dairy-free oatmeal cookie version for Dan, and head to bed.

Daily total: $154

Tuesday

restaurant sweat diary

Dan eats an omelet almost every day. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

6:30 a.m. — Dan wakes up, checks his email, and showers before heading to work. He makes a pit stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced almond milk macchiato ($4.25).

7:15 a.m. — Chelsea is packing lunch for school and having her first glass of water for the day. “It’s really important for me to drink three liters of water per day,” she says. “I don’t feel like my energy level remains as strong when I’m dehydrated, and the benefits of drinking a lot of water keeps me sane.”

8:50 a.m. — School drop-off before heading to Starbucks for Chelsea’s daily morning drink of a double shot iced espresso, splash of half and half, and cinnamon ($2.39) before heading into work. Dan’s already at the restaurant eating his daily loaded veggie egg white omelet.

10:30 a.m. — Dan walks the floor and makes sure all the food is being freshly prepped while Chelsea makes an avocado toast to eat while returning a couple of calls about inquiries for private event bookings and does an email blast and an Instagram post.

Noon — Snack time — peanut butter on half an English muffin for Dan and fresh fruit for Chelsea.

1 p.m. — Chelsea and Dan take 25 minutes to sit down and have lunch together. It’s chicken mandarin salad for her and a WAG signature turkey sandwich (minus the bread) for Dan.

2:15 p.m. — Dan’s off to pick up our daughter from school. She’s usually still sleeping when he leaves in the morning, so Chelsea always drops her off. “It’s a main priority for me to be a hands-on dad in any way I can,” Dan says. “I love picking her up from school. It’s our thing.”

3:30 p.m. — The weather starts to improve after some morning clouds, so we all head outside for some after-school playtime and a walk around our neighborhood. Even though we’re very much on-the-go parents, we love getting in any extra exercise we can, especially when it involves the outdoors.

5:30 p.m. — Dinner tonight is tomato and basil salad, marinated chicken, broccoli, and potatoes, all on the grill.

7 p.m. — Clean up and shower routine.

9:15 p.m. — We’re in bed catching up on a show on DVR and sharing some semi-sweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s — another dairy-free favorite we always stock.

Daily total: $6.64

Wednesday

restaurant sweat diary

Dan and Chelsea make all kinds of delicious meals. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

6 a.m. — Earlier wake-up call for Dan on Wednesdays. He heads downstairs for a double Nespresso and Peloton workout before showering and is out the door. He stops for another much-needed coffee on his way to work ($4.25).

8 a.m. — Chelsea is dressed and grabs a banana for a quick snack while heading to a Barre3 class with Dakota. Barre3 has a play area with a sitter ($5) to watch the kids while parents take class. Dakota loves it, and it’s extremely helpful for when you are on Mom duty but still want to get a workout in.

Dan is already at work. He chefs for the restaurant every Wednesday (during the day and the evening), so it’s an extra long day for him.

9:50 a.m. — Chelsea heads to Starbucks to have her morning iced double shot, a vanilla yogurt, and another banana ($6.91).

10:30 a.m. — Dan grabs a quick second breakfast for himself in the middle of a busy morning: sautéed veggies and two over-easy eggs topped with salsa.

Noon — Before heading home to put Dakota down for a nap and returning email inquiries, Chelsea grabs a salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods with spring mix, grilled chicken, tofu, snap peas, and roasted cauliflower to eat for lunch and a piece of fresh salmon for dinner later ($20).

2:30 p.m. — Dan is closing out his morning shift and realizes he hasn’t stopped for lunch since this morning. He makes himself four scrambled egg whites and tops them with hot sauce. “I’m a huge breakfast guy,” he says. “So anytime I want something quick and easy but also filling and satisfying, eggs are my No.1 go-to.” He then also has a spoonful of Justin’s maple almond butter to curb a mid-afternoon sweet tooth.

3 p.m. — Chelsea finishes up a phone call with a bride-to-be for a small wedding we have booked this upcoming fall before snacking on some organic roasted almonds, berries, and two slices of cheese. “I find myself having more grazing days during pregnancy with crunchy, cold foods rather than sticking to three full meals,” she says.

5:45 p.m. — Dan makes himself dinner before it gets super busy at work. He throws a seasoned burger on the grill with a slice of dairy-free cheese. Instead of eating it on a buttery brioche as usual, he pairs it with a mound of roasted veggies and WAG’s homemade horseradish aïoli for more flavor. Chelsea’s at home and has dinner in the oven for herself: roasted salmon in Soy Vay island teriyaki glaze (“My absolute favorite,” she says. “I can eat it on anything.”) with asparagus and sweet potatoes. “Even though it’s just me most Wednesday nights,” she says, “I really prefer cooking myself an easy clean, one-pan dinner than ordering in.”

8:15 p.m. — Chelsea showers and finishes folding some laundry while Dan takes the last check to ring in for the night.

10 p.m. — Dan’s home from the day and makes a pitstop in the kitchen for another spoonful of maple almond butter before heading upstairs, where Chelsea is indulging in a piece of dark chocolate almond bark and Bravo TV.

Daily total: $36.16

Thursday

restaurant sweat diary

Broccoli is a favorite for the Katzes. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

7 a.m. — Dan’s showered and out the door. Chelsea meets him over at work a little later.

9:15 a.m. — Chelsea arrives at work with a few minutes to spare before a morning meeting, so she downs a spinach, banana, mint, ginger, lemon, and ice smoothie she made at home with her Double Shot ($2.39) while Dan finishes a protein bar and an iced macchiato she brought him ($5.39).

11 a.m. — Meetings are over. We both want to eat a quick something before the busy lunch rush. Chelsea goes for some egg whites with spinach on GG crackers and Dan opts for two over-easy eggs with half an avocado.

2 p.m. — The day has flown by. We both finish up closing out checks and answering emails. Dan rushes out to pick up Kody (Dakota) from school, and Chelsea is off to pick up a few décor items to display at the restaurant as finishing touches to the recent renovations we did. She stops for a pack of organic chicken on her way home ($8.81).

5 p.m. — Dan heads downstairs to do a quick Peloton class while Chelsea preps dinner — chicken and veggie stir fry with brown rice — and starts baking some banana chocolate chip bread with Kody. “I want her to be exposed at a young age to how much fun a healthy relationship with food can be,” Chelsea says, “so she can make nutritious choices for herself as she gets older.”

8:45 p.m. — Chelsea is still a little hungry after dinner, and Dan’s sweet tooth is panging. We head down to the kitchen, where Dan has some coconut-based Cool Whip and dairy-free Halo Top, and Chelsea has some crackers and hummus and a piece of the banana bread. It’s still warm and irresistible.

Daily total: $16.59

Friday

restaurant sweat diary

Avocado toast with cherry tomatoes makes for a quick snack. / Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Katz

6:30 a.m. — We’re up early — TGIF! We both take a few minutes to soak up the peace and quiet and enjoy a cup of coffee together before Dakota wakes up and the busy day begins.

8 a.m. — Dan heads to work and enjoys a protein shake and an almond milk yogurt there while Chelsea packs Dakota’s school lunch and makes a herself a yogurt bowl of Greek yogurt, cereal, slivered almonds, and chia seeds. She eats this almost once a day and wonders to herself why it hasn’t graced her plate all week as she watches Dakota enjoy a bowl of chocolate chip oatmeal.

9 a.m. — School drop-off then right to Starbucks for an iced double shot for Chelsea and an iced almond milk macchiato for Dan ($8.54).

9:30 a.m. — Chelsea walks into work, where she finds four scheduled lunch orders for noon and Dan helping to get a catered breakfast out the door as he’s on the phone problem solving with one of our vendor’s delivery drivers.

11:30 a.m. — We’re busy busy busy. No time for breakfast, so Dan grabs a protein bar from his bag.

1:45 p.m. — The lunch rush is slowing down. Dan has a plate of scrambled egg whites with mushrooms, turkey bacon, and salsa, and Chelsea toasts a slice of multigrain and tops it with avocado and cherry tomatoes to hold her over until a later afternoon Barre3 class.

3:30 p.m. — Dan is on his way home from picking Kody up at school. “I love to do a small something special with her after Friday pickups,” he says. “She and I share a mutual love for chocolate and a big sweet tooth, so I decide to take her for froyo before heading home.” Our neighborhood shop has a dairy-free chocolate sorbet that is so amazing. I decide to enjoy a small cup that I top with shredded coconut and peanut butter chips ($7.76).

5:30 p.m. — Chelsea makes Dakota dinner and gives her a bath before showering and getting ready to go out to dinner.

8 p.m. — We arrive at a favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant. We don’t go out that much during the week. When we do, we love to share, so we order a smorgasbord of wedge and chopped salads, a shrimp cocktail, sea bass, and Tuscan chicken with marinara, olives, and capers ($110).

10 p.m. — We skip dessert, but Dan goes for a decaf espresso and Chelsea a mint tea. We head home and chat about tomorrow’s day, starting with a breakfast crowd line and dance class for Dakota. Another early morning; in the restaurant world, there’s no time to sleep in.

Daily total: $126.30

Weekly totals

Money spent: $339.69

Peloton workouts done by Dan: 3

Barre3 workouts done by Chelsea: 3

Home-cooked dinners made: 4

Spoonfuls of almond or peanut butter eaten by Dan: 3

Halo Top servings eaten: 2

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