As if we didn’t have enough options for hummus, Verts Mediterranean Grill has now opened in Philadelphia. The fast–casual restaurant chain features build–your–own bowls, salads, and pitas with a Middle Eastern flair. According to their website, Verts boasts to be “as good for your body as it is for your taste buds” and claims that most orders come out to under 600 calories. With even their tzatziki weighing in at only 16 calories per serving, can Verts be the elusive combination of both delicious and nutritious?
While Verts is new to our area, the Texas–founded eatery already has 14 locations in its home state and has expanded to Boston and New York City as well. The Mediterranean quick–service concept is hardly new; Cava and Maoz Vegeterian are two other growing chains on the East Coast. Even within Philadelphia, Verts is up against stiff competition with the likes of Hummus, Sweetgreen, and even the trusty Halal food truck.
While Verts normally caters to the bustling lunch hour crowd near the Penn Center, the spacious and sleek interior was empty on this Sunday afternoon. On its menu, Verts makes up for its lack in creativity in concept with its variety in options. Verts offers a base of rice, pita, lettuce, or quinoa and different proteins like turkey and mushroom meatballs, lamb, and, of course, falafel. From there, they invite you to load up on the toppings, sauces, and dips galore.
The warm falafel, crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside, was the star of the meal. Filling to the max, the ample amount of fresh veggie toppings add spice and flavor and transform an otherwise boring bed of mesclun into an enjoyable way to get your five–a–day serving of greens. The sauces, however, missed the mark: while the Harissa is strong enough to burn a hole through your stomach, the eggplant dip lacks any flavor at all.
While Verts had its highs and lows, it does accomplish its goal of being healthy and satisfying. According to the website’s calorie calculator, the bowl came out to 416 calories, well under the 600 calorie mark.
If you like your salads sans–SABSing, Verts should earn a spot in your weekly rotation.
TL;DR: The “Chipotle of Mediterranean” has landed in Philadelphia.
Don’t Miss: The unlimited toppings that put Sweetgreen and HoneyGrow to shame.
Skip: The side of Hot Harissa unless you want a side of Tums as well.
When to go: When you need to refuel after a strenuous shopping day, but still want to fit into the jeans you just bought.
Location: Penn Center
Price Range: $9–$11