Cava is a fast food Mediterranean style chain restaurant with a location in Chapel Hill, NC near the Whole Foods. I first heard of Cava through my classmates and was excited to find that their menu had many items that were gluten-free. After hearing such great reviews from my food loving nutrition classmates I knew I had to give Cava a try.
I visited Cava for the first time in January 2021. At this time there are still restrictions in the Chapel Hill area due to the pandemic. On top of that I visited by myself and therefore thought take away was the best option. Despite that being the case, I did go into the restaurant to order and see some of their procedures. At this time they had a few tables around as well as some tables outside for anyone who may prefer to eat at the restaurant. The decor within the restaurant itself was minimalistic and modern. I liked the vibes that they were going for. I hope that one day I will be able to sit in the restaurant and share some good food with my friends.
Like I mentioned before, the menu had many gluten-free options. As this was the first time I visited I looked online to gain an idea of what I would order before going in. I will say the menu online is a little easier to decide what is gluten-free and safe, and that is what I used when ordering my food.
They have a line style ordering system similar to Chipotle. You start with your base, then add meat, sauces, and toppings. Based on what I saw at this location it seemed they did very well in having a separate scoop or spoon for each different food item, which is important so cross contact does not occur. Through the glass I could see everything that was done to my meal and that also made me feel a bit safer. I was asked if I wanted pita at one point and I said no thank you and that I was gluten-free.
So what I ordered… I started with the grains and greens, then added roasted eggplant, hummus, and tzatziki. For my protein I chose the harissa honey chicken, which was a bit spicier than I expected. But I am again looking at the menu and it has cayenne, so that is probably why. I think the funniest part of that though, is then I went and asked if the fire-roasted corn was hot totally not thinking when I spoke. Social interactions are much harder now that we aren’t doing them as often. Anyways, I finished my bowl off with the fire-roasted corn, and feta cheese. I took this all home and it kept well. That is one of my biggest complaints about take away, is food that gets cold and doesn’t taste great by the time you get it home.
I ate my bowl at home while watching reruns of Gilmore Girls. I was very happy with my meal. It had a lot of fun flavors, was a bit spicy, but I’m trying to add some more spice to my life and food. I definitely think it is a great option for fun, fast, safe food. I think the food was reasonably priced while offering a decent quantity of food. I was a bit saddened to learn the falafel was not gluten-free as I love falafel, but there are other great protein options that are gluten-free here. My experience here was great and I had no problems, gluten-related or other after eating this meal.
I was very happy with my experience at Cava. The staff was helpful and seemed to be well trained in food handling. I like that they had many gluten-free menu items to chose from. I definitely see myself eating here many more times while I live and study here. And, they are a chain, so maybe wherever I go next they will be there too. I do think my experience was a good one and feel confident recommending this restaurant chain to others. With some preparation looking at the online menu and informing the staff of your dietary needs I imagine you will have a great gluten-free experience too!