Throughout Tallahssee, there are not many healthy and reliable restaurants that catch an individual’s eye. Typical fast food restaurants can come across as greasy and messy, leaving customers feeling unsatisfied with their visit. On Friday Jan. 20, CAVA, a brand new restaurant in Tallahassee, had its grand opening. CAVA is a growing Mediterranean culinary brand with a healthy fast-casual restaurant experience featuring customizable salads, pitas, juices, dressings and more. The opening of this restaurant was created to give individuals throughout town a more healthy eating option. In 2021, the midtown restaurant Zoёs Kitchen closed and began the process of converting into CAVA Mezze Grill, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant. CAVA acquired Zoës in a multimillion dollar deal in 2018, and is currently in the process of flipping more than 250 Zoës Kitchen locations. Zoës was a town favorite, which made individuals excited to see what CAVA had to offer. 

Compared to Zoës, CAVA is completely revamped and refreshed. When entering CAVA, customers are greeted by friendly faces surrounding the restaurant. Throughout the store, workers and staff are either cooking in the back, preparing food out front or restocking store necessities. When ordering, workers are there to walk customers through the whole process. Workers thoroughly explain what each item is and what they recommend, which leaves customers with a friendly feeling. After customers receive their food, they are greeted into the seating area to enjoy their meal. CAVA has a similar ambiance to Chipotle with its conveyor-like system and overtly modern furniture. The tables inside CAVA are equally spaced out which gives families, friends and even individuals the opportunity to enjoy their meals in peace without feeling cramped.

CAVA serves a limited but well-curated menu of falafels, pitas and bowls. When ordering, individuals are first walked through the option of either getting grains, greens or both put onto their falafel, pita or bowl. Customers are then passed down to the dips and spread section where they can choose up to three dip and spread options to put onto their meal. A customer can keep it simple by just adding tzatziki or going out of their comfort zone and adding harissa. Next, customers get to choose their choice of meat. These options range from grilled chicken, all the way up to braised lamb. After adding meat, customers get to choose their toppings. Some of CAVA’s fan favorites include their fire roasted corn, tomato cucumber salad and crumbled feta. Lastly, individuals can select up to two dressings to go along with their meal. Customers are also advised to try many of CAVA’s fresh squeezed lemonades and juices to help wash down their meal.  

Individuals have time to think about what they want to order thanks to the overhead menu above the serving station. Not only does CAVA have an overhead menu, they also have small cheat sheet cards on the glass which separates the customers from the food. On these cards, the name of the item on the other side of the glass is listed with a description of how it tastes and what is in it. For individuals with dietary restrictions, this comes off fairly helpful. It is also nice for picky individuals who aren’t sure if they would like a food item or not. 

While the service, atmosphere and food are top tier, the main disadvantage of CAVA is their prices. When it comes to a quick stop-in lunch place, CAVA is fairly pricey depending on what an individual chooses to get. To create a bowl at CAVA, the price starts at $10.35, while at Chipotle, bowls start at $6.50. Even though Chipotle is a Mexican Grill restaurant compared to CAVA, the differences in prices are distinct. 

CAVA is a unique restaurant with many different styles of food options to choose from. CAVA is an inviting, comfortable and enjoyable environment to eat in. With welcoming staff and good food options, it will definitely bring in a crowd. Even though CAVA does not have the typical price as Chipotle or Moes would, it is definitely worth a try. 

  • Food
  • Atmosphere / Service
  • Prices