Foodies for Thought: Taking Fast Food to a Healthy and Aesthetic LevelDec 27, 2020 07:45PM ● By Liz Stevens
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
The word “foodies” spelled out in bright colors against an unassuming beige strip mall off 78th and Cass streets is like a beacon for any self-proclaimed foodie. It's a clear must-stop-in spot.
The bright branding seen from the street matches the colorful interior. The dining area is brought to life by the warm, natural light coming in through the large storefront windows. The middle seating area is filled with tables to accommodate large and small groups, and cozy booths outline one side of the green dining room wall, with combination booths and chair options lining the other. In the back corner of the room are two large, brown armchairs that would be perfect for a longer study session or reading the daily paper.
The restaurant has a comfy, casual feel. Scanning over the other patrons, some were just sitting down to lunch with friends, while others were studying. The wide-open seating area makes it easy to socially distance.
Foodies is a local spot known for serving fresh food fast and without the heavy calorie commitment. The menu features several gluten-free options and dishes. It can take some hunting to locate the vegetarian options, but the staff is there to help. And it is easy to customize your own.
“Any salad can be done vegan [and] we have vegan wraps on our website menu," said owner and chef Brian Hilger. "You have a choice of shell [flour or wheat tortilla, or paratha wrap] to pick from, sauce to add, and three veggies are included. Plus, you choose your side to go with it." He said they also have vegan pizza, with a gluten-free crust made from cauliflower.
During our visit, we were greeted by the man running the cash register, who promptly took our order. Leading up to the register, they have a menu along the wall so customers can consider their options before ordering.
My friend and I approached the counter and were immediately excited by all our options. A larger version of the menu is suspended on the wall behind the register, and is separated into categories such as sandwiches, pizza, sides, etc. Next to the register is a prep station where orders are immediately assembled with fresh ingredients.
We ordered the Greek pizza with gluten-free crust—a $1.50 upcharge—the vegetarian peppernata sandwich, sweet potato fries, and the Foodies side salad.
Taking advantage of the last warm-weather days, we decided to sit on the patio. Our food came out about 10 minutes after we sat down. Each dish arrived on the table looking fresh and ready for an Instagram photo shoot. This restaurant is casual enough to arrive in your coziest sweats, but the plates arrive to the table looking high-end.
We started with the side salad, which consisted of mixed greens, feta cheese, almonds, and craisins. It was served with a slightly sweet red wine vinaigrette that we thought tasted of raspberries (patrons can request any of the dressings on their menu). For those who prefer to make salad the main course, the [seasonal] Strawberry Candied Pecan Salad, sampled on a previous visit, was a winner. It consists of herb-roasted chicken, candied pecans, bacon, feta cheese, and thinly sliced strawberries, and is served with the same well-balanced house vinaigrette.
The Greek Pizza is an easy way to fill the day’s quota of vegetables. The thin crust was crispy and topped with a layer of basil pesto sauce. It was loaded with fresh chicken, mozzarella, bell peppers, black olives, and feta cheese. The flavors worked together nicely, but the abundance of toppings made the pizza difficult to pick up and eat. The pizza could have used some additional sauce to add more moisture to the dish.
Next, we sampled the Portobello Peppernata Melt, a vegetarian sandwich served on toasted ciabatta bread with sliced, roasted portobello mushrooms covered with a generous serving of provolone cheese. The interior of the sandwich was cloaked in a rich, red pepper sauce. This item was definitely my friend’s favorite, and the sauce was the shining star of the dish. Needless to say, it didn’t sit long on the plate.
In between each dish, we snacked on sweet potato fries. The fries are coated in a well-balanced, sweet and salty seasoning mix. Each bite was crispy yet soft on the inside.
When we were finished, someone promptly came to thank us for coming in and cleared our table. The entire staff was friendly and seemed genuinely glad to be at their jobs serving customers.
My friend and I were able to sample an array of different foods, and we only scratched the surface of what the Foodies team has to offer. Their menu is packed with sandwiches, salads, pasta, wraps, and a variety of deserts.
The overall experience was positive, with healthy food that left us satisfied but not overly full. The service added to the experience, as the entire team seemed to take pride in serving fresh food fast. All the dishes we sampled were beautifully plated and ready for their Insta closeup.
Visit foodiesomaha.com for more information.
This article was printed in the January/February edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.