By Terri Hilmey
The restaurant business can be exhilarating, exciting, but exhausting at the same time. You’re working long hours, and your customers are looking to you for more than just good food – they’re looking for great service, a cheerful and attractive atmosphere, and a full dining experience.
Justin Bingel, owner of Yolo Restaurant & Lounge, on Transit Road in East Amherst, has to run on all gears, almost all of the time. His exercise routine at Hive is critical to his success, and his overall well-being. “It keeps your mind at ease,” says Bingel, “when I’m at the gym it takes my mind away from the restaurant, and even when I am thinking about work, I’m getting good ideas, thinking of new dishes…”
Exercising, and living a healthy lifestyle does more than just keep you looking good. “It keeps my energy going,” says Bingel, “and if I don’t get to the gym, I’m just not in the same mind frame. I need to always have that great customer rapport that depends on me being in a good frame of mind. I want to welcome my customers, I need to make sure they’re happy.”
Justin’s overall commitment to a healthy lifestyle extends also to the choices he makes at his restaurant. “I’m big on eating healthy and eating in moderation, instead of the Buffalo tradition of having huge portions, and either trying to eat all of it, or take some of it home. Food is healthier when it’s fresh, and when you’re served a proper portion, you get the full benefit of not only the great taste, but alos the nutritional benefit.”
Bingel has created healthy menu options a Yolo, working in some of the latest healthy eating trends, offering a gluten-free menu, and even going the extra mile with extremely rigorous cleaning routines. “It makes a difference in the quality of the food,” says Bingel. “Clean cooking helps to make some of Buffalo’s traditional options healthier, because we’ll offer Buffalo wings, but our fryer is cleaner than most restaurants, so you’re going to get a better chicken wing, and you won’t have that bloated or sickly feeling afterwards. It really matters.”
Bringing a little bit of downtown to the suburbs, Bingel has created a healthy, chick restaurant that embodies everything he personally feels about a healthy, energetic and well-balanced lifestyle.