As a once-overweight kid whose father died of a heart attack when he was young, Matt Matros understands the connection between diet and health. He used that knowledge in founding his healthy fast-food chain Protein Bar, and in his former role as the CEO position of FarmedHere.
In 2009 Matros quit his job as brand manager at Kraft and with his life savings, loans and credit card debt, he opened the first Protein Bar with a single location downtown. Protein Bar now has 20 restaurants, including locations in Washington, D.C. and Colorado.
It offers high-protein meals made with ingredients such as quinoa, organic tofu and black beans — the makings for the high-protein diet that helped Matros shed 60 pounds when he was in his early 20s, he told Blue Sky.
Mattress sold a portion of that company in 2013 to Catterton Partners, a Connecticut-based private equity firm. He stepped aside as CEO in November when he promoted Samir Wagle, a former Chipotle executive, to that role.
After he left Protein Bar, Matros said, he spent four months traveling around the world studying food trends. He saw an opportunity in indoor vertical farming, and friends in Chicago steered him to FarmedHere, a hydroponic farm in Bedford Park.
Matros left FarmedHere in January 2016 to focus on the coffee business. He launched Limitless Coffee, a wholesale coffee merchant, in March 2016 with three co-founders. The company has since opened up a flagship location in the West Loop, where they offer tours of their facilities.
Matros has an undergraduate degree from USC and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.