With little hangry kids, families want their food fast but not necessarily fast food if you know what I mean. Families looking to eat healthier also want food made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. However, fast and wholesome can sometimes be a tricky combo. This is where the ‘fast casual’ concepts do well with us especially when time is short. So what’s the difference between fast food concepts versus fast casual places? Both types of eateries lets you order at a counter and does not have table service. However, fast casual concepts have higher quality of food and are made to order. Some that we’ve featured previously are Dive Coastal Cuisine, Carbone’s and Modern Market. Our aim at meal time is to ‘eat the rainbow’ so here’s four fast casual restaurants that IttyBittyFoodies love.
The Commissary makes the top of our list for fast casual restaurants. The dishes tastes like it’s straight out of a hotel restaurant rather than a fast casual order-at-a-counter concept. That’s because The Commissary is responsible for supplying pasta, sausages, steaks, breads and pastries to some of downtown’s and the Design District’s best restaurants — Mirador, Sassetta, CBD Provisions American Brasserie and Americano. The IttyBittyFoodies love visiting here after a morning at The Perot Museum or Dallas Museum of Art.
The cafe also doubles as a small market with wine and artisanal groceries, grab & go counter with fresh sandwiches and salads, butcher, gelateria, coffee shop and gelateria.
The menu rotates but try the sandwiches. The French Dip with shaved roast beef and caramelized onions is my 12 year old Pikelet’s favorite especially since it’s served with a pho beef soup for dipping.
The handmade pasta rigatoni pork sugo is so satisfying, both Lollo and Googie now demand their own individual portions. To counteract winter sniffles, we always add a chicken noodle soup with a clear clean bone broth and chopped veggies and shredded rotisserie chicken.
Good luck to you if you think you can order just one dessert. Their pastries like the eclairs and tarts are so pretty, we can never resist getting a few for the table. The Commissary is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You know the relief you feel when you’re on vacation and you discover a pool just for families while walking around the hotel? The hidden back section of Arepa Tx is a little like that. After ordering your meal, walk through the corridor as it brings you to a huge back room equipped with a chalk board and play table for kids. Hooray!
The family-owned Latin street food eatery understands catering to Texan families. The arepas, thick, round pieces of dough are filled with lots of Texan favorites like BBQ beef brisket, cheeseburger and fried chicken and maple.
Most of the arepas are gluten free and there’s a ton of vegetarian options like Chipotle and avocado jackfruit made with a splash of crema and queso fresca. There are even kids dessert arepas made with Nutella and fresh strawberries.
But you cannot leave without tasting one of their artisanal frozen pops in exotic flavors like coconut, dulce de leche and mango. Arepa Tx is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Tip: if you’re having a mother’s night out or brunch, treat yourself with a mini pop dropped a glass of sparkling wine!
We encourage the kids not to eat from the kids menu whenever we go out but Flower Child is an exception. Offerings like grass fed beef and all natural chicken in children’s portions gets thumbs up from parents.
The kids meals comes with two sides like sauteed broccoli or smashed organic potato. The avocado hummus, a twist on regular hummus always makes an appearance on the table. The wraps like “The Rebel” with grass-fed beef, charred onion, horseradish yogurt blended with the sharp bite of arugula are power meals rolled in whole wheat, flax and chia seed pita.
There are also mix and match salads or plates where you can add your own protein (sustainable salmon, non-gmo tofu, grassfed beef or all natural chicken). The freshly squeezed lemonades are some of the best we’ve ever enjoyed and there’s a small selection of wine and kombucha on tap.
We were so happy to hear that Unleavened Fresh Kitchen opened a second location at Southlake Town Square. There’s always room for more fresh and good food. Dips at Unleavened Fresh Kitchen served with a variety of vegetable sticks are some of the most colorful we’ve seen. The hummus made with coarsely mashed chickpeas is sufficiently garlicky and lemony. The eggplant dip made with just roasted eggplant, lemon, tahini, capers and roasted red onion is so fresh, there’s no mystery ingredients.
For your main meals, you can choose to have it wrapped or loose in a salad bowl. We didn’t make it early enough for breakfast but next time, we’ll try the acai bowls and split grapefruit brulee!
Do you have a fast casual favorite? Tell us in the comments below.
Till our next Happy Meal!