In June, a new healthy player entered the Atlanta arena: Upbeet. The sister restaurant to Yeah! Burger, the fast-casual establishment on the city’s Westside makes you want to eat your vegetables. With a plethora of options – grain bowls, salads, smoothies and toasts – you are bound to find something that tickles your fancy. Last week, the ShahSquared team took a field trip to the new restaurant to get an idea of the atmosphere, operations and, of course, the food.
When opening the door, we were excited to see a modern dining room that was minimalism at its best.
The white furniture and wood accents with pops of greenery and open windows made us feel welcomed. The large menu boards were easy to read and filled with creative concoctions for meat lovers, vegetarians and those in between. The color scheme – a blend of teal, white and pink – added a nice pop to the wood plank backdrop. We loved the beverage case filled with cold-pressed juice and some local kombucha varieties.
What we weren’t too impressed with– the line. For 8:00 pm on a Wednesday, we were shocked to see a hungry post-workout crowd with minimally-filled seats. Being the ultimate optimists, we hypothesized that the majority of patrons were enjoying their bowls at home.
Going through the line.
Besides changing our minds at least five times while waiting in line, we were able to observe the way the operations were being handled. With one person manning the cash register, the remainder of the crew were working behind the counter assembling bowls or in the kitchen replenishing ingredients. Our food service guru quickly figured out the two reasons the process was running slowly.
- STREAMLINING: Instead of having someone managing each area (salad, cold vegetables, hot vegetables, proteins, sauces/toppings), one team member would travel through the line with each party. Depending on the size, one person could be making one bowl or juggling three.
- OFFERINGS: Upbeet does not lack in variety – their options were endless. If you’re customizing your bowl, there were more than 50-60 items that could be incorporated into your meal. With uncommon ingredients like purple rice and watermelon radish to eight different protein options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s a cliché but sometimes less is more. Not to mention, the difficulty in sourcing and restocking these ingredients.
In the end, we decided to customize our bowls. We did our best to have our base, four fruits and veggies, protein, dressing and dry topping figured out prior to our order. Per usual, the team did not discuss what we were getting with each other but ended up with similar ingredients.
Getting our fill.
From the first bite, our taste buds were not disappointed
The combination of flavors and textures made this meal incredibly satisfying and generally free of guilt. Despite not ordering one of their culinary-inspired bowls, our custom creations turned out well.
Sticking with Paleo options our bowls combined a base of mesclun and spinach with heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions, roasted fingerlings, and basil topped with grilled steak, green goddess dressing and sunflower seeds. The salad base stood up to our bold vegetable choices while the hearty meat, the slight crunch from the seeds and herbaceous dressing married all the flavors.
After munching through as much of the bowl as we could, we had to throw in the towel; luckily, that meant we had enough to enjoy the next day.
The concept is great but they have some work to do
The concept is great, the food is high-quality and its atmosphere is comforting. As a young restaurant, we know the operational kinks will be worked out and the concept will adapt overtime to find its groove. If you’re a health-conscious foodie looking for a place to dine-out on the weekdays, Upbeet is the place for you.