The “fast casual” segment of the restaurant market is growing faster than mold on Chinese drywall, and coming just to prove it is another fast casual player in the local dining scene. Expect this one to open almost two dozen outlets in South Florida over the coming months.
We’re talking Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (7036 W. Palmetto Park Rd., 561/395-5500), the first SoFla outpost of a Denver-based chain. It takes over the space in West Boca’s Garden Shops mall formerly home to Baja Fresh. It’s the brainchild of Israeli native Alon Mor, who opened the first Garbanzo in Denver in 2007 and now has 27 beans in 10 states.
The limited menu features tried and true Middle Eastern dishes, from shwarma (chicken and steak) to falafel to hummus (also portobello mushroom). In concept, Garbanzo replicates the DIY system popularized by Chipotle and used now by just about every fast casual eatery. You choose your protein (shwarma, falafel, portobello or hummus), then your delivery vehicle (pita, wrap or on a plate), then trick it out with various salads and sides (some free, some 49 or 99 cents), plus a choice of sauces (lemon vinaigrette, tahini and red chili among them).
Also on the menu are kabob platters, Greek salad, a trio of soups and dolmas. Everything is under 10 bucks, so you can break your hunger without breaking the bank. Can’t beat that.