Saturday, September 22, 2012

Café Zupas

The Place: 408 W 2230 N, Provo. In the same parking lot as the dollar theatre, Quarry, Shopko, Buy Low, et cetera. It's conveniently situated at the intersection of University Parkway and 2230 N and is quite close to BYU campus. It shares a wall with a jewelry store [Goldsmith's? I wasn't paying attention ; it was a first date, guys, c'mon]. The immediate parking lot is usually full, especially in the evenings, but the Buy Low lot is huge and never full, so parking is hardly a problem.

The Atmosphere: Zupas always seems to be busy. It's definitely a Provo favorite, and for good reason. It can be loud and kind of crazy, kind of like Cafe Rio, but it's acceptable. Like the Mexican favorite, you wait in line while your food is prepared, then you pay and grab your utensils and drinks and then find a table yourself. Employees bus your table after you leave, but when they get busy, you might find a booth with someone's tray that just hasn't been attended yet. Be patient.

The Staff: The way the ordering system is kind of hard because the line is so chattery and loud. The first guy asks what you want and then either makes the salad right in front of you or passes your soup and/or sandwich order down the line. It can be kind of annoying to have to repeat your order to other employees farther down, but that might be because I honestly forgot what I ordered... twice. Otherwise, the staff is friendly, and they seem to have everything organized well, so much that I didn't even notice them ladle up my soup and get it ready.

They always have plenty of staff on hand: some to bus tables, most to prepare food. One guy stood at the door and thanked us for coming, but I'm not sure if he had other duties? That seems kind of dull.

The Food: Because I am a dummy and am still getting used to taking photos for this blog, I didn't take any actual pictures of anything tonight. As I describe the meal, feel free to use your imagination. If it helps even more, I shall provide this beauteous picture as a visual aid.
Am I an art major? No, I am not.
I've eaten here four times now, and I try to get something different each time. I'm not usually a salad person in general, so I usually lean towards the soup and sandwich combo. For $7.99 you can get a fairly sizable portion of your choice of two: a soup, a sandwich, and a salad. It's a fairly good deal for its size.

Today I decided to try the New England Clam Chowder. I paid extra to add bacon on top because it looked really good and because bacon. The clams weren't overly chewy, which is good, but it didn't seem like there were many clams in general. I could have just been distracted by the bacon, however, which is entirely possible. The chowder was not as thick as I normally expect chowder to be, but it was still very satisfying. The New England style still had a slight kick to it. A very good soup. [Last time, I went with the Thai Lobster Curry, which I also highly recommend.]

To complete my combo, I went with one of the limited edition styles, the Asian BBQ pulled pork. I'm usually wary of the union of "Asian" and "BBQ," but this was quite satisfying.
This dramatic shot is of the leftover half, which I dramatically photographed in my dark kitchen lit by the fan light.  So avant garde.

I'm interested in trying the regular BBQ pulled pork sandwich now. The pork was essentially your standard pulled style, and they definitely didn't skimp on the meat. It was very well cooked, and it was that perfect kind of softness where it broke easily. Sometimes pork can be tough and pull itself out of the sandwich. Fortunately, there was none of the "well, looks like my next bite is going to be all bread" situations with this one. The basil was a very nice touch as well. The sauce wasn't overbearing, but complemented the sandwich quite nicely.

My friend went with the Wisconsin Cauliflower soup and the Pesto Chicken grilled panini. I didn't try either one, but the presentation was very nice. She really enjoyed both of them, and cauliflower is one of her favorite soups, so I assume she knows what she's talking about.

Also! Each order comes with some fresh-baked Italian Ciabatta bread that I could probably eat all day, and some chocolate-dipped strawberries. It's pretty much the best side to a meal, right? Right.

The Verdict: Five bananas. My favorite Italian variety place in town. There are so many options to choose from between salads, soups, and sandwiches. They also have Italian sodas if that's your thing, but I generally just stick with water. But anyway, you should definitely go eat here. Go take a date! Girls usually love Zupas; it's not terribly expensive, and everyone leaves happy [because chocolate strawberries make everyone happy].

Read other reviews here:
Cafe Zupas on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Greg said...

Hi David,

Your first posts just appeared on Urbanspoon! Check it out:
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