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Zoë's Kitchen (PHX) - short rant

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Perhaps I'm too picky, but I'd like to think that there are others that adhere to similar standards when visiting a restaurant. That said, why would you serve a sandwich (the 2nd item on your menu, no less) on STORE-BOUGHT BREAD?

I ordered the chicken salad sandwich for lunch today, apparently one of their best-sellers, and was dismayed by the overly soft and completely useless Sara Lee (or Aunt Hatties, or similar) 7-grain bread. For $7.65 (w/one side + chips), I expect more.

I understand partially, seeing that it's a chain, they want consistency, etc etc. But, for example, even the often-hated Starbucks outsources their baked items to regional bakeries to maintain consistency state-wide. Is that too much to ask?

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  1. Hoping not to sound to harsh...but I've yet to understand the draw of Zoë's. Is there something special about their ingredients (e.g., do they use Niman Ranch meats)? Or is it just a convenient, reasonably healthy, lunch destination for folks who work in the area?

    Thanks in advance for any cluing in you can do. ;-)

    7 Replies
    1. re: hohokam

      It's the latter - it's a couple minutes from my office, and I wanted to eat something reasonably-healthy today.

      1. re: azhotdish

        Sadly I agree...I think they were the first to try to make an effort in downtown and a reasonably healthy, cheerful place near downtown was SO new and appreciated it may be a touch overrated.

        I always think it's ok, but for the price I would take even Baja Fresh but especially Foccacia Fiorentina, My Florist, Fate, Cibo or others over Zoe's.

        I will add that the Mayor (chocolate addict that he is) adores the cake @ Zoe's...for what it's worth...

        1. re: HomeCookKirsten

          I've been eating lunch downtown and in central Phoenix for a long time and have not had lunch at Zoe's ... because every time I've wandered in or read the online menu I've been put off by how almost every item features feta. It's a disease shared by many places claiming to offer Greek or "Mediterranean" cuisine. The Med word on a menu has become code for a pile of cheap stinking feta, which is not what is really all about. Believe me -- I love cheese in many varieties, feta included -- in small doses -- but feta, like certain blue cheeses, has a fervent following who can't get enough -- the more the better. I like these cheeses, of good quality, in moderate quantity, but the trend in recent years seems to be piling this stuff on without restraint, and if it were really good, it wouldn't be piled on a $6 lunch plate. I might consider a lunch at Zoe's if they would consider offering a sandwich, chicken, whatever, that wasn't fouled with feta.

          1. re: misohungrychewlow

            ...and I thought I was the only one on feta overload. Feta has its places -- in a Greek salad, for example, but some local establishments go overboard by putting it everywhere. What's next: feta smoothies? feta bagels?

            1. re: misohungrychewlow

              Zoe's has been in the South for years (and may have even originated here). I love them for their (more) healthy options. I'll ask them to go light on the feta or eliminate it completely. They are always willing to accommodate me. However, this removal is only possible in the on-site assembly items. If it's a preassembled item, then you're SOL.

            2. re: HomeCookKirsten

              I see. I was away for a while and when I came back last year I noticed Zoe's. Not knowing anything about it, I thought "That place looks nice, maybe I'll try it." I was kind of disappointed to find out later that it was primarily a sandwich and salad place.

              I would probably feel differently if I was a central Phx worker, instead of just a central Phx resident. But, as someone who is in that part of town mostly around dinner time, I find myself wishing that a restaurant serving more substantial and/or interesting fare would open around that intersection. Alternatively, I'd like to see My Florist decide to expand their menu to include something more interesting that what they currently offer.

            3. re: azhotdish

              well if the mayor likes it, no wonder it's mediocre!

          2. I bought a sandwich from Zoe's on Sunday and I had sticker shock for what I got (Meditteranean tuna in a pita, side of slaw, and a bag of Lay's Potato Chips for about $8 with tax). I've eaten there before so I shouldn't have been surprised.

            What I should have done, as I've done before, is buy the tuna by the pound and forgo the pita packed with lettuce (not much tuna), the slaw (which is still in my fridge) and a bag of "not very special" chips.

            Sometimes it takes me a few times to learn.

            1. i like zoe's..as a cenpho resident and worker..im not thinking im getting a cutting edge boundary pushing meal, but for quick meals that aren't super scary bad for you, there's a whole lot worse than zoes...

              i usually get the spinach quesadilla with chicken....and of course fruit.....the 1/2 cup of fruit makes it healthy ;) j/k

              seriously tho - its a quasi-healthy fast food option, nothing more nothing less...

              1 Reply
              1. re: winedubar

                I'm with winedubar. It's a nice kid-friendly option that we can walk to for a meal.

                As for the adundance of feta, just by the "Ya Ya's Chocolate Cake" on the menu, that tells me that Zoe, wherever she is, is/was Greek. That's the standard pet name for grandmother.

              2. I've been to Zoes twice and both times felt like someone robbed me of my ten bucks. BORING, lackluster food. Hate it times 6

                1 Reply
                1. re: AZBconcierge

                  I'm with you. Can't understand the fascination, let alone the proliferation. I don't care WHAT they call grandmama...no one in that kitchen can cook!