Kardia is a fast-casual Mediterranean concept at UNC Rex Healthcare’s new $235 million North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital in Raleigh, which opened at the beginning of March. From the start, Kardia was meant to tie into the mission of the building.
“It’s the Greek word for heart,” says Jim McGrody, director of culinary and nutrition services at UNC Rex Healthcare. “When this was being planned, we wanted to do something different. We’d gotten rid of fried food years ago, but for this, we wanted heart-healthy upscale food. And not cafeteria-style. We knew a sit-down restaurant wasn’t going to work, but the buzz right now is fast-casual dining.”
So McGrody, Executive Chef Ryan Conklin, CEC, and the team went in that direction, developing a menu based on the Mediterranean diet—known to lead to better overall health, especially heart health—and helping to design the space. Take a look at the new “heart” of the hospital, Kardia.