If you’re looking for a quick, easy food fix, look no further than Alps Road in Athens. There’s three delicious options: Cava, Gusto and Chipotle – all serving variations of rice and salad bowls. 

These three restaurants, though they are competitors, cluster together to attract the largest customer base. They offer similar menu items including a build-your-own bowl which you can customize with various meats, veggies and other toppings. Each restaurant promotes healthy, hearty food options as an alternative to traditional fast food. 

But which one of these restaurants are the best? That’s a difficult question to answer, but this article will detail some of the pros and cons for each dining option so you can make the best choice when deciding where to eat lunch or dinner. 

Chipotle

Let’s start with one of the more well-known options. Chipotle is a national chain restaurant that states they use only reasonably raised meat and local produce. The restaurants don’t add hormones to their food nor do they add artificial colorings or ingredients. They offer Mexican style cuisine including: burritos, bowls, quesadillas and salads. 

When you order from chipotle, you walk up to the counter where you can see all of the ingredient options. You select either a burrito, bowl, salad, quesadilla, tacos or salad. From there you choose the base (rice, beans and lettuce) and then order your choice of meat and other toppings. You can choose sautéed peppers and onions, cheese, salsa, pico de gallo, corn salsa, sour cream and guacamole to name a few toppings to add to your meal.  

Chipotle is a great choice if you want to customize your order. You watch the employees add ingredients to your meal and you can ask for modifications like double meat, extra salsa and queso on the side. One slight to the restaurant is that there’s only so many ingredients, so if you eat the food a lot, you might grow tired of eating the same thing again and again. Though Chipotle is not traditional Mexican food, it’s still a great option for a quick, healthy meal. 

Cava   

Cava, another national chain, pulls from Greek influences to bring Mediterranean food to you. The restaurant promotes healthy food options that still retain delicious flavors. The set-up of the restaurant is similar to Chipotle where you walk up to the counter, order your base (salad, grains or pita), choose dips and spreads, select your protein, choose from a variety of toppings, and finish it off with a dressing. 

Cava has a wide selection of dips, toppings and dressings so you can change up your order each time you go to get a different flavor every time. However, it can be daunting making a decision from all of the choices. First you have to choose which dips you want: roasted eggplant, tzatziki, crazy feta, hummus, harissa or red pepper hummus. Then you have to choose which dressing you want: lemon herb tahini, skhug, greek vinaigrette, tahini caesar, yogurt dill, garlic or hot harissa vinaigrette. That doesn’t even include the range of toppings like pickled onions, avocado, tomato and onion salad, and kalamata olives you can choose from. 

If you can’t already tell, Cava has a wide selection of options you can add to your bowl to make it your own. You can go multiple times and order a completely different meal each time. If you’re looking for quick-order Mediterranean food, Cava is the place to go. 

Gusto!

The newest restaurant to the block is Gusto!, an Atlanta-based chain restaurant founded by a former UGA football player. Gusto!, like Chipotle and Cava, offers a healthy alternative to fast food. The restaurant features Mediterranean and Asian inspired bowls, so you can choose from a variety of flavors. 

Gusto! operates slightly differently than the previous two restaurants. First you choose from a predetermined bowl: chipotle mango avocado, ginger lime peanut, chile sesame bbq, tahini cucumber feta, sweet soy sriracha, or tzatziki lemon artichoke. Each choice has a set of toppings that come with the order. Then you can customize your base (greens, grains or both) and choose your protein (chicken, shrimp, avocado or tofu). 

Gusto! doesn’t offer the same type of modifications that the other two restaurants offer, but you’re still able to customize your order if you’d like – you just have to be aware of what ingredients go into the specific bowl you’re ordering. Whether you view this as a positive or negative, rest assured that each bowl is tasty and the toppings work together to create a delicious, healthy bowl. 

Now that you know a little bit about each restaurant, it’s time to try them out. Each one offers different types of food, and you’re sure to find a meal that interests you!