Normally I write about independent restaurants with one, or a few locations, not those with over 50 stores in 12 states. Zoe’s Kitchen began in 1995 as a one-location independent, in Homewood – a suburb of Birmingham, AL. After successfully opening a few more stores, they took on investors and began a more aggressive approach to expansion, most recently opening Zoe’s up to franchisees.
Their store construction at 110 Swannanoa River Road (just outside Biltmore Village) caught my attention because I thought at first it was the same “person” who had opened a “Zoe’s Kitchen”, lasting about three weeks, where Strada is now on Broadway. First reaction was, “Boy, they’ve gotten some major funding to go from what they had on Broadway to this.” Second reaction, “Oh, it’s a chain out of Alabama. Never mind.”
Fast forward almost twelve months and I’m invited to try Zoe’s Dinner for Four. Would it be a hit or miss? I had my doubts.
Our meal was ready for pick-up since it had been called in ahead. Inside and out, Zoe’s has a “colorful clean, linear look designed “to make you feel alive and really happy to be there”. The Asheville location has a nice patio, too.
We got the Kabob Combo Dinner ($37.44 incl tax) to go: four chicken kabobs and four shrimp kabobs, rice pilaf, Greek salad and pita bread. You choose a combination of four chicken, four shrimp, or four veggie kabobs for a total of eight. We also got four pieces of YaYa’s Hand-Made Chocolate Cake ($2.34 ea incl tax).
Zoe’s says they serve “Mediterranean-inspired comfort food” made every day “from scratch onsite at each restaurant” and it seems to be true. The four of us, who tend to be pretty critical when it comes to food, were pleasantly surprised at the quality, freshness and taste of everything.
They also packed paper plates, napkins and utensils for four.
The Greek Salad was made with traditional ingredients, all of which were fresh. Dressing in four containers kept things crisp and enabled each of us dress our serving to taste.
It took me a half hour to get the food from Zoe’s to our table. The Kabob and rice pilaf were still hot! As you can see, the shrimp were good sized and the chicken pieces were solid white meat. What you can’t see is the tasty seasoning and that the veggies were cooked perfectly: crisp-tender.
YaYa’s cake was moist and chocolaty, topped with a generous layer of creamy chocolate frosting. Our pieces has some sugar(?) crystallization between the cake and frosting, but we pretty much wolfed them down anyway. Delicious. We weren’t sure what would have caused the crystallization, but I’ve let Zoe’s know about the issue.
This would have been a good meal at a higher price, but for under $10 each, it’s a great tasting deal!
Our original plan was to take our bagged meal to an Asheville picnic spot. Maybe next time. As it turned out, the evening was a little too chilly for dining alfresco.
I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another Zoe’s dinner to go or use them for a catered event.
See full menu.
14 Swannanoa River Rd
Asheville, NC 28803