The Chick Pea in West Palm Beach Offers Healthy Food Fast

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Lunch, the ubiquitous time of day that can sometimes be more of a lingering question than a meal. Where to go that will satisfy everyone in your increasingly hungry party? Healthy, sure. Fast, that goes without saying. Both at the same time? Dream big.

Well, that's exactly what Amange Foad did by opening The Chick Pea on Clematis Street in April. The first and only hummus bar in South Florida, The Chick Pea is taking your lunch options head on.

Foad has lived in South Florida for over 15 years and noticed a big discrepancy around lunch options. "Around 11:30 p.m. or so you start thinking, where am I going to eat today?" says Foad. "It was either McDonald's or Burger King, something really bad for you and quick. Or you would have to sit there and wait for an hour to get your food. So we saw a need for something faster but also healthy. That was the whole idea behind The Chick Pea."

See Also: The Complete Idiot's Guide to: Hummus

Somewhat of a Mediterranean Chipotle, the assembly line style service gives the customer an abundance of options for combinations of The Chick Pea's super fresh veggies, meats, sauces and hummus. And they take their hummus seriously, making it fresh, in-house, everyday. The result transforms chickpeas into a creamy blend worthy of your stacked plate. But not just the hummus gets the special treatment at The Chick Pea, everything does. There is no freezer in the kitchen meaning your lunch is as fresh as possible.

These days, healthy means different things to different people. With that in mind, and a general emphasis on well-being, Foad took the time to make his menu easy to read for all dietary conditions. Menu items are clearly marked as organic, vegan, vegetarian, lactose free, containing nuts and gluten free. With something for everyone clearly marked, The Chick Pea is a place to bring even your pickiest eaters.

The concept behind The Chick Pea makes so much sense it's hard to believe this restaurant is the only one of its kind and not a chain. Hungry patrons start by picking if they want a bowl ($7.95), pita wrap ($7.45) or platter which comes with two sides ($10.95). Next you select a base, either rice, salad or hummus. Move on to pick your protein, then top it off with sauces and spreads. The staff behind the counter are full of knowledge about each ingredient, walking you through the selection process and offering advice to create your ideal lunch.

Foad says his restaurant is a "totally new experience" and one that lunch goers on Clematis Street are already re-visiting. "You really build your own meal," says Foad. "You can come here every day for a month and still get something new because there are so many things to try."

Going down The Chick Pea line, you notice that they put their own twist on traditional Mediterranean food. Take the Tabouleh Salad ($3.95 as a side, included with the platter): gluten free and made with organic quinoa, this side is brightened up not just with traditional parsley but fruity addition of pomegranate seeds, granny smith apples and mint. Or the Mediterranean Guacamole ($2.95 as a side, included with the platter) but hold the avocado and add chickpeas and fava beans to this fresh spread full of cilantro, lime and jalapeno.

Foad likes to call his style "old cultural recipes with a modern twist" but he also knows how to do traditional recipes right. Try the with Babaganoush and Tzatziki (both $2.95 as a side or included in the platter) or his made from scratch Falafel, full of fresh herbs and fried until golden and crispy.

The interior is modern and the food is just as fresh as promised, but it's truly the behind-the-counter staff that turn this lunch stop into a meal worth repeating. With so many choices, the options for mixing and matching are endless and the team at The Chick Pea is on your side. Here is your chance to customize the perfect lunch for you-- healthy, fast and just what you need to take on the second half of the day.

The Chick Pea is located at 400 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. Hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday. Call 561-755-5151, or visit the-chickpea.com.

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