Secret revealed: It's a restaurant!

Zoe Greszler • Aug 26, 2017 at 6:00 PM

The secret has been revealed! 

After a 2 1/2-month build up, with hints posted about weekly on social media, Levels Gym owner Bruce Tanner has announced the secret behind the mystery logo — Tanner will be opening a restaurant. 

After many clues were posted on social media, the announcement was made this morning at the gym’s Secret 5K. The venture has been a dream-in-the-making for Tanner for some time.

“When I remodeled this little building in Plymouth like forever ago, I just thought, ‘Hey, you start a gym and people get healthy,’” he said. “I help people, but I’ve been doing this for seven years now and it’s not the ultimate way to get people healthy really.”

Tanner is known by many for his Tireless Pursuit of Positivity, a multi-state walk to spread positive vibes in October.

He felt discouraged for those who wanted to get healthy, and probably knew how to, but needed the little extra drive to do so.

“At every corner of your life, there is somebody trying to destroy your health,” he said. “People don’t want to see you get healthy for the most part. I’m at the gym about 10 hours a day, sometimes more. It’s a constant discussion, ‘What am I supposed to eat? What am I supposed to eat?’ ... We all know what we’re supposed to eat. We all know that this isn’t the best thing for you, but broccoli is, spinach is. So, it’s a restaurant.”

The restaurant doesn’t have an official name, but in the mean time, Tanner said he’s going to be calling it the Secret Cafe. 

There is one small hitch — not all the details, like when or exactly how the restaurant will be opened, have been worked out. These details don’t have Tanner worried; he knows his passion will carry him to the goal.

“I’m terrified,” he said with a laugh. “This isn’t like I have a lot of money and whatever. There’s really only a desire to do it. (People) are all like ‘How are you even going to do this?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t even know.’”

His desire fills in the gaps. 

“Let’s say you wanted a new car and you were driving somewhere and you saw a Tesla and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I want this,’ and it’s only $5,000. You don’t have $5,000 but you will find it to get that car. That’s kind of how I feel,” Tanner said.

“I don’t really know anything about the restaurant business. I don’t. I just know about what’s healthy and how to treat people and I know how to decorate and I know I won’t compromise my morals and say something’s healthy just to make money off of it and then meanwhile you put ingredients in that (are not good for you).

“So I don’t know. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, how I’m going to be able to afford to build it or what to do, or how to do it.”

His main concern is making people smile, doing what he loves and helping everyone to have a better, healthier life. These values can be seen in the type of food he foresees being on the menu and a “vibe” he hopes will emulate the eatery. 

“I think it’s really about taking care of people,” he said.

Fast-food restaurants don’t care what people eat; they “just want the money,” Tanner said.

“I think you need to put the people first, before the money,” he said. “If you can take an interest in their lives and make them healthy, they’re going to appreciate it. I want to actually have a discussion and I want it to be a place people come and stay.”

While Tanner has never had any experience in running a restaurant, he said he has had a little practice with the idea of cooking delicious meals for others — something that has connected with his gym very well. He hopes to continue the connection in the future. 

“I’m not going to be the cook for it, but I am a good cook,” he said.

“I cook for a girl that’s been coming to the gym and I cook every single one of her meals to help her lose weight,” he added, telling a story that fueled his passion for the restaurant.

“She’d been coming since we first opened in 2010 and she’d never lost weight, and she comes all the time. It’s because she eats bad things. ... Her workout is brutal. She’s basically been going through brutality for the past seven years of her life, hours a day, with zero results, until I started cooking for her.”

Norwalk Reflector Videos