Magazine Feature / People

Alumnus’ Boulder eatery offers diners organic, raw options

Phil Thyen (MBA ’89), a restaurateur in Boulder, Colo., preaches organic foods as salvation for the body and the planet. He founded Organic Orbit in Boulder last year after a five-year run with a restaurant of the same name in Denver.

In the 1990s, he prepared and delivered organic salads to schools. But when Thyen was a student at the Daniels College of Business he was more interested in ski slopes. He was a professional ski instructor and ski resort marketing director.

After several years in the ski industry, Thyen was working in France where he was exposed to great food. He recalled a new product development class at DU, which had been taught by an adjunct professor from Frito Lay.

“I was a bit perplexed as I sat through that class,” Thyen recalls. “So many marketing dollars spent on food that isn’t that good. [I wondered] how could one use marketing for something that had true value?”

For Thyen, value means organic foods, biodynamic wines and raw foods. (To the uninitiated, biodynamic wines are those produced “in full harmony with nature.”) Proponents of the raw food movement believe that the greater the percentage of raw food in the diet, the greater the health benefits. Thyen says with raw food, enzymes stay intact and the “life force energy in the food is at its highest.”

He practices what he preaches, never eating fast food; only organic. He says his food allergies have improved since changing his diet in his 20s. But it isn’t just human health that concerns him. The restaurant building was constructed using green building materials, which reflects Thyen’s deep concern for the environment.

Although recent news reports have focused on “food miles” — the distance food is transported before it reaches the consumer — and consumers have been admonished to buy locally whenever possible, Thyen believes buying organic should come first.

“It’s best to support organics because it stops the use of harmful pesticides and other chemicals and eliminates the spread of genetically engineered foods. Organic should be the first priority, then you should buy local,” he says.

Thyen says eating organically is a way to reconnect with nature every day. That’s important, he says, because eating higher quality food better nourishes people, creates healthier physiologies and enhances intelligence, which makes people more prepared to find solutions to the world’s problems.

Readers voted Organic Orbit the Best New Restaurant in Boulder Weekly’s annual “Best Of Boulder County” issuepublished in May. The write-up explained the blue-ribbon choice: “Considering Boulder’s reputation for concern about the health of the planet and personal health and wellbeing, it’s no surprise that our readers chose this eco-eatery as the county’s Best New Restaurant.”

Comments are closed.