Zoës Kitchen: Healthy Fast Food With a Mediterranean Flair

This time last year I was basking in the afterglow of my European vacation. Oh, how I miss those cobblestone streets, ancient cities and most of all, the simple and wholesome food!

But, this year, with not a travel plan in site, an invitation to check out a growing restaurant chain boasting a Mediterranean inspired menu, put a smile on my face. I jumped on the opportunity.

 Zoës Kitchen is a fast/casual restaurant chain that provides lunch and dinner choices for those in search of healthy, unprocessed, real food. Nearly everything in Zoës Kitchen is cut and prepared daily in house. Grilling is the predominant cooking method (you won’t find a microwave in Zoës Kitchen) and a varied menu (including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options) aims to satisfy everyone.

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Mediterranean meals inspired by family recipes. Think Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Algeria and more!

At the new Kansas City location, our group was treated to a family-style sit-down dinner of Mediterranean favorites.

First course: a trio of hummus: classic garlic, basil pesto and red pepper. All were light and creamy, a perfect not so heavy start to our multi-course feast.

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A selection of salads followed including quinoa salad brimming with tomatoes, cucumber, celery and broccoli; an interesting take on tabouli made with orzo and baby spinach and a traditional Greek salad. Each was packed with loads of fresh ingredients and topped with regional favorites like olives, feta cheese and tasty lemon vinaigrette.

We next nibbled on another sample: a tortilla roll-up made with spinach, steak or chicken. They were a hearty two-bites and would be perfect on an appetizer tray.

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Then out came the kabobs: steak, chicken, shrimp and salmon (they also offer a veggie version made with portabella mushrooms). I sampled a couple bites of each and was forced to call it quits. A regular order would yield the diner two kabobs with a side (no sane person would ever order all that we enjoyed!) and there is no opportunity to super-size it.

Zoës Kitchen also offer pitas, traditional sandwiches, entrees and uncommon sides like braised white beans with fresh rosemary and a potato salad made with olive oil. I absolutely love the Zoës Kitchen concept — fast food with a distinctively healthy twist — and wish more restaurants would jump on that bandwagon.

Do you have a Zoës Kitchen where you live? They have 148 locations with more coming soon! —Karen

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