Zoe’s Kitchen: A Fit and Fresh Alternative to “Fast Food”

I’m the mom that goes green as much as possible, yet eats fast food a little more than I’d like due to convenience!

The options are usually the same, the “healthier” Christian chicken sandwich store, the super fatty and super unhealthy hamburger huts or the taco stands on the corners.  As I sit here and write this, I can feel my arteries clogging ~ squeezing any inclination of healthy food out of mine and my children’s systems.

I find that the predicament while we are out running our daily errands is the lack of any healthy options to eat in a kid friendly and quick environment. As a mother of two under the age of 3 1/2, these are crucial elements in determining where we should eat if we are not super close to home and convenience is required.

Recently, though, I was presented the great opportunity of dining at a local cafe and “fast food” restaurant called Zoës Kitchen.  I have to admit that I had passed it multiple times, as it is on the corner of a very trafficked and busy intersection in North Dallas….yet only about 10 minutes from our home.  This past Saturday, my husband and I had to buckle down and hire a babysitter for 8 hours while we knocked out Christmas shopping….and a bit of birthday shopping for me (finding a great pair of boots)….but I digress.

After leaving the kids with the sitter, we headed out ravished from not having eaten lunch yet.  I determined that this would be the optimal time to try Zoës Kitchen without the distraction of the children ~ a proper review of the cuisine and atmosphere could be achieved.  We drove up around 1:00 in the afternoon to a semi-packed house.  The restaurant boasts a vibrant orange against modern accents.  The oversized and tilted menus were immediately evident upon entering … and the choices were abundant.

Zoës Kitchen is a natural extension of Zoë Cassimus’ lifetime of cooking for family and friends. Inspired by Zoë’s original recipes and her simple, fresh-from-the-garden sensibility, they start every day by making the food from scratch onsite at each restaurant. Their dishes are wholesome; their portions generous. It’s Mediterranean-inspired comfort food with customers’ dietary concerns in mind — nothing fried with gluten-free and vegetarian options. Zoë means “life” in Greek. Why not live it to the fullest with tasty food shared among close friends and family?

Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, I found that most of their entrees had extremely fresh ingredients such as olives, tomato, cucumber, peppers, feta cheese and more.  My first reaction was not overly excited, as I am not a fan of olives in the least bit, but the restaurant was very accommodating to my dislikes.  With hummus being a favorite snack of mine, we started our meal with the hummus and pita appetizer.  YUMMY!  The cold hummus was complimented with extremely warm and soft triangles of pita bread ~ it was delicious!  I do have to say, though, that for the amount of hummus that is given, I could have used twice as much pita bread.  The serving was huge and a perfect portion for the two of us.

After finishing the hummus and pita, my husband had ordered the chicken kabobs which came with two kabobs, grilled peppers and onions,
tomato, rice pilaf and a side greek salad.  The chicken was delicious and incredibly seasoned!  Once again, the portion was amazing and my husband still cleared his plate!

I, on the other hand, chose to have their half soup and sandwich entree.  I ordered the tomato bisque and the chicken salad sandwich.  Being a HUGE fan of another local chain restaurant who has incredible tomato bisque, I have never found another soup to compare…until now.  I would just be curious to compare the nutritional value of the two soups from the two chains.  The sandwich featured all white chicken, lettuce, tomato, mayo and 7-grain bread.  Delicious!  I excluded the tomato and lettuce, because I am picky about my food, but even still, the sandwich was incredible.  I also do not like onions, which the chicken salad had, but in however it is prepared, I couldn’t taste them at all!  The best way for me to eat them!

For dessert, we left with a huge chocolate chunk cookie that was the size of my hand!  The cookie was soft and oh….so….good!

My husband and I were so excited that we have finally found a local (and close) “fast food” restaurant/diner that serves primarily healthy options, rather than its competitors in the immediate area.

Also, how many times do you go to a company get together or moms day out and have the same mile long sandwich with so many things that you don’t like on your hoagie?  It’s always the same old same old!  Zoës Kitchen also can provide a healthy and fresh alternative to catering! From kabobs to individual deli roll ups and sides to salivate over, including braised white beans, rice pilaf and marinated slaw.

I think one of the most attractive options that Zoës Kitchen has developed is a full line of gluten free menu options.  We have friends that have gluten intolerances, and it is so difficult to ever go out to eat with them.  With their gluten free menu for my friends and healthy options for me, it becomes a win-win option for dining out!

Check out this great video featuring Matt Koate giving us a great recipe for a Homemade Pimiento Cheese Spread for Texas Hamburgers from our own Fox 4 here in Dallas!  Get ready for our thick Texas southern accents!

PHILANTHROPIC VENTURES

1. By partnering with schools and children’s groups to celebrate the creative spirit of children and to raise funds.

Zoës Kitchen Celebrates Children! Artwork Program

Since their founding in 1995, the Zoës Kitchen Celebrates Children! Artwork Program has benefitted nearly 50 schools and children’s organizations in communities from Arizona to Virginia. The program invites children to create works of art that are displayed in a Zoës location and available for “sale” to the public as a donation. All proceeds from artwork sales go directly to the participating school or organization.

As part of the program, Zoës will supply all canvasses and artwork supplies and deliver them to your school. If you’re a qualified, nonprofit children’s organization, including public and private elementary schools, churches, youth clubs, etc., please contact your local Zoës for more information OR fill out an online application here!

2. By on-site hosting or off-site catering of your fundraising event.

Your neighborhood Zoës can partner with your nonprofit group to customize a fundraising package where a percentage of proceeds are donated to your cause. Zoës Kitchen in-restaurant fundraiser program provides organizations the opportunity to schedule a fundraiser at the Zoës location of your choice during business hours. What’s more, there’s opportunity for Zoës Kitchen to donate a percentage of the pre-tax sales (excluding beer and wine) during the fundraising event back to your organization.

Although every request cannot be filled due to an overwhelming amount of applications, do not let this deter you! Click here to fill out your online application!

3. By providing the gift of Simple. Tasty. Fresh!

Zoës Kitchen Gift Cards are available in various denominations for use at silent auctions and other special events to raise funds and help build awareness for your nonprofit organization.  Zoës Kitchen loves to support community events by donating food and gift cards! If your organization is looking for these types of donations, please complete and submit the online application by clicking here.  Also, right now, at least in the Plano, TX location, they are offering a great holiday promotion where you buy a $15 gift card to Zoës Kitchen and get a spice of life!

CONNECT!  Zoës Kitchen is definitely worth the trip! Make sure to visit the location closest to you today!

Here are some other great ways to keep tabs on new and exciting food and ventures that Zoës Kitchen has in store:

  •  Visit their website ~ Full of great toys and educational products for the little love in your life!
  • Like on Facebook and connect with other new Zoës Kitchen-ites!
  • Tweet it out!  Follow Zoës Kitchen on Twitter  to keep up to date with the most new and foremost news!
  • Subscribe to the ZoeMail to keep in line with the latest and greatest products and specials!
  • Watch fun videos on the Zoes Kitchen Web YouTube channel
  • Follow Zoe’s Kitchen on Pinterest!
 Disclaimer: Sample(s) were received at no cost to the reviewer. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely that of NoM, and are completely honest and without influence. Click on the appropriate links to view our full policiesgiveaway rules and disclaimers.

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