There is a buzz surrounding a new restaurant in Chapel Hill called CAVA that offers quick and affordable seasonal meals. The motto posted on their menu is “Food that fills you and fulfills you too” with their focus on “Greek and Mediterranean cooking in a casual modern setting”.
Where: CAVA, Village Plaza, 79 S Elliott Road Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (near Whole Foods), currently with 3 locations in North Carolina and 75 locations nationwide.
GF Menu: No; however, the back of the menu contains helpful Dietary Info with an extensive chart (also on their website here) showing which items are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, and/or Soy Free. They reassure visitors there are no peanuts, tree nuts, or any other kind of nut in their food.
The menu states: “If you have a food allergy, please speak to the general manager or any restaurant team member.”
What I ate: Greens + Grains Bowl with Spicy Lamb Meatballs
How to order it: At CAVA, you customize your meal. You review the menu, walk up to the counter and order, then watch the servers build your meal. For those suffering with food allergies or concerned about food safety, this process is beautiful in its transparency.
The menu gives you easy instructions on how to “Build It”.
1. Start with a base (greens, grains, salad)
2. Choose up to three dips & spreads (hummus, tzatziki, harissa, etc.)
3. Pick a protein (chicken, braised lamb, seasonal vegetables, etc.)
4. Choose as many toppings as you like (diced cucumbers, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, fresh mint, etc.)
5. Top it all off with dressings (Lemon Herb Tahini, Sriracha Greek Yoghurt, Green Harissa, etc.)
Their specials change seasonally. Currently, they are offering “cold-weather flavors”.
Ask your server to help you identify which options are gluten-free or can be modified.
What it looks like:
Check out this hearty bowl. I chose a Supergreens mix (organic and incredibly fresh) and Saffron Basmati Rice for my base. My dips and spreads included tzatziki, hummus, and crazy feta. The protein was the spicy lamb meatballs. Topping it all off were tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, kalamata olives, cauliflower quinoa tabbouleh, crumbled feta, and fresh mint. The rice and the meatballs were warm, while the greens were cool and crisp. I could enjoy this every day.
Here’s a closeup. The meal offered a traditional, yet modern, symphony of flavors.
In case you are wondering what an exceptional meal like this costs, the bowl is currently listed at $8.75. With all of these high-quality ingredients, this is one of the best deals in town.
Green Note: CAVA is proud of its partnership with farms and communities. Click here to read more about their ongoing connections with local farms.
The day I visited, some of the ingredients had been sourced from three different North Carolina farms.
The sparkling water I purchased with my lunch came in a non-BPA aluminum bottle. The label explains how CAVA partners with Open Water to reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in the ocean.
Did you know aluminum cans and bottles get recycled 67% of the time? That is more than twice as often as plastic, glass, and cartons. Also, it’s lightweight and infinitely recyclable.