Local and seasonal eating has finally hit the mainstream public interest and is taking a hold of the food industry. The expectation for wholesome, fresher fare is being embraced even by national chains like Chipotle and Panera. These fresh casual chains are serving customized, nutritious, high quality ingredients in more of an upscale environment. Being in charge of creating your own meals has spread to our local restaurants as well. Two fresh casual chains in southeast Michigan are Estia Greek Street Food in Troy and Chickpea Kitchen in Sterling Heights.
Estia Greek Street Food is a Greek inspired build-your-own pita, bowl or salad. I chose to build a bowl with a base of Estia’s Greek quinoa then added char-grilled chicken, oregano broth, hummus, spinach, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and a house made purple cabbage salad. Being able to pile on the veggies makes this super healthy as well as delicious. Estia also makes all their pita and rolls in house so they are warm and fresh. As with many locally inspired food joints, the décor is made from repurposed and reclaimed brick and wood from the southeast Michigan region. If you are in downtown Detroit, check out their new midtown location in the food court at the DMC.
Chickpea Kitchen in Sterling Heights is a fast and fresh Middle Eastern spot where you can create your own bowl or shawarma with your favorite toppings. Again, I made a bowl with a base of cracked wheat topped with marinated chicken, spinach, chickpeas, pickles, torshi (pickled turnips and cabbage) and garlic sauce. I love that they offer a whole grain choice along with the white rice pilaf. They also serve a house made unsweetened mint tea next to the fountain sodas.
I’m so pleased that there are local businesses serving high quality food with fewer processed ingredients. Share with me your favorite local, healthy eatery.
—Pam Aughe, R.D.