Since Gwyneth Paltrow sent the first Goop newsletter from her kitchen, in 2008, her wellness empire has elicited rage that not even a Goop Beauty Emotional Detox Bath Soak could calm down. Goop’s This Smells Like My Vagina Candle, libido gummies, annual New Year detox, biofrequency stickers, and coffee enemas regularly galvanize haters to decry the “woo-woo evangelist” for peddling “pseudoscience.”

All the while, Paltrow’s brand has expanded from a newsletter into a Web site, print magazine, podcast, beauty range, clothing label, vitamin line, several boutiques, two Netflix shows, a franchise of wellness summits, and a cruise. It’s reportedly worth about $250 million.

Now there’s also Goop Kitchen, a group of five take-out restaurants around Los Angeles that “accelerate the clean-food movement,” according to the Goop Kitchen Web site.

The first Goop ghost kitchen—a space where cooks prepare dishes to be delivered, with no dine-in option—opened in Santa Monica in March 2021. Outposts in Studio City, Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa, and El Segundo followed. And for, perhaps, the first time in Goop history, the venture—serving chopped salads with nitrate-free turkey salami, Brentwood Chinese Chicken Salad, and the like—has prompted next to no anger, just orders.

The Goop Kitchen spring-salmon bowl, a seasonal offering that goes for $17.99—compared to Erewhon’s $29.

“Gwyneth is absolutely, completely ridiculous,” says Jocelyn Silver, a freelance writer who lives in East Los Angeles. “She’s also fabulous.”

Silver first tried Goop Kitchen in January, after hearing friends rave about the food. “When I ate it, I was like, Wow, this is delightful.” After finishing her miso-salmon salad, she immediately ordered bone broth to save for later.

Silver doesn’t really peruse the Goop Web site or buy Goop products. But, like most other thirtysomething women, she’s very familiar with Paltrow’s lifestyle, such as her decade-old claim that she smokes a single American Spirit each week. “This is a woman who may consume bone broth for all of her meals from time to time,” says Silver. But “you think about her one cigarette a week, her pizza oven in her backyard—she also knows how to enjoy and appreciate life.”

Goop “is not really my thing,” says Katie Kreshek, a 25-year-old show-runner’s assistant on Big Mouth, Nick Kroll’s animated Netflix show. She is, however, a Goop Kitchen devotee, telling me that her office has ordered Goop Kitchen every Friday since December. Asked if she has any complaints about the restaurant, Kreshek says, “I got nothing.”

“This is a woman who may consume bone broth for all of her meals from time to time.... [But] you think about her one cigarette a week, her pizza oven in her backyard—she also knows how to enjoy and appreciate life.”

Just before the pandemic, Goop intended to open a sit-down place. When restaurants were temporarily closed, and the take-out business was booming, they pivoted.

“In the ghost-kitchen space, it’s really hard to be successful if you don’t have a brand,” says Donald Moore, a partner at DOM Food Group, the venture studio that helps operate Goop Kitchen. “They show up in the delivery apps, and it’s like, What is that place?” Moore chalks up Goop Kitchen’s quick success, in part, to “everybody know[ing] what Goop is.”

Goop Kitchen’s soup and pizza offerings.

One of the many pleasures of Goop Kitchen is that, unlike most celebrity brands, it’s easy to imagine the spokesperson actually enjoying what they’re shilling. You could see Paltrow, who once said, “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can,” actually eating Goop Kitchen’s salad dressings, which are “GCC”—Goop Clean Certified—meaning no refined sugars, processed foods, gluten, dairy, peanuts, or preservatives.

The chef is Kim Floresca, who previously worked at Per Se, in New York, and the Restaurant at Meadowood, in Napa Valley.

“They’re all new recipes, but a lot of them are culled from what [Paltrow] loves, or recipes that [Goop] has created over the years,” says Noora Brown, Goop’s executive vice president of brand. The turkey Bolognese follows one of the first recipes Paltrow ever posted on Goop. “Nothing goes out the door that she hasn’t tasted.”

In the early days, “we made something that [Paltrow] hated, a granola-ish bar that we thought was clever,” Moore says. “Apparently it wasn’t. She goes, ‘That’s a bummer bar.’” It was promptly scrapped.

“Nothing goes out the door that she hasn’t tasted.”

Los Angeles isn’t exactly wanting for healthy food. There are multiple Kreations, an organic-café chain that sells items such as Hot Girl White Bean Kale Soup and a Kinky Quinoa Kombo, as well as 10 Erewhons, the upscale grocery-store chain with a hot-food bar that offers faux–buffalo wings (made of cauliflower instead of chicken) and a California version of arancini (brown rice and vegan cheese).

Goop Kitchen’s menu largely consists of traditional health food—bowls with brown rice and vegetables, salads with proteins and nuts—rather than respectable food so thoroughly bastardized that it mimics the very junk you’re trying to avoid.

“I can go to Erewhon every day and spend $50 for lunch, $50 for dinner, and I’d be in the shitter,” says Jared Eng, a celebrity stylist and founder of the entertainment Web site Just Jared. “Goop Kitchen came off as really affordable.”

Eng’s go-to order, the miso-salmon salad, costs $15.59, whereas Erewhon’s “fish combo plate”—a piece of salmon or white fish with two sides—is $29. Eng’s other favorite Los Angeles salad, the Polo Lounge’s McCarthy, is $46.

The Goop Kitchen teriyaki bowl.

The pricing tends not to reflect Goop Kitchen’s portions. Silver says they “feel substantial” and that “I don’t think you’re going to go hungry” ordering lunch from there. I might be so bold as to suggest that occasionally their teriyaki bowls have too much umami brown rice.

Online, where the Goop anger festers, among the few one-star Yelp reviews for Goop Kitchen, a particularly irate one has no issues with the food’s taste—“10 STARS for Fall Harvest Salad!”—but makes the accusation that “Goop kitchen does not include enough dressing for this big salad so you are forced to purchase extra.... It’s just not right.”

A different Yelp reviewer totally disagrees. “I am a sauce person, like I love lots of sauces. But the small container of sauce with this [teriyaki chicken bowl] was perfect! No need for any more!”

Jensen Davis is a Senior Editor at AIR MAIL