I am proudly from the DMV (that's DC, Maryland, Virginia) and there are many pros and cons of living in the area (more pros than cons TBH)—but one obvious advantage is the vast variety of food options available. That's where Cava comes in.
The idea behind Cava Mezze Grill is to celebrate the flavors of the founders' "traditional Greek and Mediterranean cooking in a casual modern setting." They blend the ease and customizability of Chipotle with a healthier, Mediterranean-style of cooking.
You can build your own salad, grain bowl, or pita sandwich from a plethora of dips, spreads, proteins, toppings and dressings.
#SpoonTip: Many of Cava's dips and spreads are available for purchase at Whole Foods and other similar retailers. I love the crazy feta dip.
I say that it's like the Mediterranean version of a Chipotle, but really Cava is so much more
Why Is Cava So Important?
I could list so many reasons here, but in an effort to be succinct, I'll summarize:
1. The food is really, really tasty. At home, I enjoy a falafel bowl about once a week, and I still haven't gotten sick of it.
2. It's affordable. A meal costs about $10, and I generally have enough food for a leftovers lunch the next day.
3. This is real food. As opposed to many fast-casual options, Cava uses sustainable, fresh, local food to create a meal that leaves you full and satisfied, but not feeling gross like you might from an excess of oil or heavily processed carbohydrates.
4. The seasonal drinks. When I'm out to eat, I usually just ask for a cup of water, partly because I don't drink soda and partly because everyone knows water is good for you. But at Cava, I always have to get one of the made-in-house daily juices. You can go for just one (read: blackberry sage with agave) or mix and match to create your own personal flavor.
Why Isn't Cava Here?
I didn't realize that Cava was only a DMV thing until I came to college. Honestly, it was a slightly heartbreaking realization for me. But then I did some digging, and I discovered that they have been opening locations in some other big cities as well, like New York and LA. Although St. Louis is not quite as big a hub as those cities, I am a staunch believer that we (both the people of STL and Wash U students) would make it worth Cava's while to open here--specifically on the Loop.
Wash U is a community of young, hungry, adventurous college students who are eating on a budget. We're the perfect audience, and I, for one, am waiting not-so-patiently for Cava to notice.