Spice up Your Salad Bowl!

A healthy and hot alternative to a regular salad.


Faith Harden

A build your own Pita containing lamb and tomatoes as well as Tzatziki sauce

America has always been known as the world’s melting pot, and has also adopted the name “salad bowl”, but what kind of salad bowl? Its diversity is widely known and encouraged, especially where food is involved. Many are familiar with Chinese and Mexican, as they are now American staples, but what about Mediterranean style?

On Friday, Feb. 3, a group of students ventured outside of the typical cheeseburger joint and tried Cava, a Mediterranean-style restaurant that opened semi-locally roughly two years ago in the year 2021. Cava first opened in 2006 in Washington, D.C. after the trio Ike Grigoropoulos, Ted Xenohristos, and Dimitri Moshovitis transformed their goal of making modernized Greek food a reality. What originally started as Cava Mezze, a full-service restaurant, turned into Cava Grill, a “fast casual restaurant” in 2011. The three were all childhood friends, sons of first immigrants who cared deeply about sharing the value of Greek food with the American population. As a result of their passion and appreciation for Greek culture, Cava was developed and opened, along with the arguably catchy slogan that encapsulates what Cava is all about. “Cava is grounded in the Mediterranean way of life, where food is at the center of culture and connection.”

The quartet of Pennridge students that strayed from their comfort zones to acquire the Mediterranean cuisine is as follows: Faith Harden, Sullivan Heying, Nathan Esbenshade, and Maddie Kuhns. Upon entry, the restaurant immediately resembled Chipotle, the popular Mexican food chain restaurant that gained fame in 2006. The ordering options were displayed on a screen above the waiting line, similar to other fast-food restaurants in and around the area. The menu was diverse, ranging from premade and customizable salad bowls to pitas, a Greek-style sandwich with vegetable contents enclosed by pita bread, similar to a wrap. The group members’ orders varied, each of them selecting different options on the menu. Half of the members ordered pitas, while the other two experimented with customized and premade salad bowls. Each of the members enjoyed their purchases, describing the food as “filling, spicy,” and “reminiscent of a Chipotle, just Mediterranean.” The food is composed of traditional Mediterranean-style vegetables, ranging from pickled cucumbers and onions to Harassi-style chicken. Much of the food incorporates rice and corn into the salad bowl and pitas, as well as hummus and avocados. Collectively, the group agreed that to their American tongues, the food was spicy, as the Harissa spice is composed of chiles, cumin, and coriander, all spices notoriously higher on the heat index.

Not only did the group aforementioned enjoy the trip, but so did the customers. One of the patrons that chose to remain anonymous remarked that the food was “healthy and delicious” and that they had previously tried Cava and thought the price was reasonable for the product received. Another Pennridge Senior, Janae Smith, remarked that the food was “hot” and that the restaurant was like a “healthier Chipotle”. Overall, the comments were positive, and the people testing out the relatively new restaurant were pleased with the food.

The customers and group agreed they would try Cava again with friends or family. It was like a Mediterranean-style Chipotle, a restaurant familiar to most locals. The group would suggest trying out a new style of food and had good things to report about Cava.