Kelly the Culinarian: Restaurant Review and Giveaway: Protein Bar

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Restaurant Review and Giveaway: Protein Bar

Catering manager Joanna, me and marketer extraordinaire Analisa
I'm so excited to share this restaurant review! When I joined my gym, it was in an almost-empty strip mall. Over the past few months, I've watched a few things get added, but nothing that really boiled my coffee. When I spied a new business setting up shop right next to the gym (and thus, across the street from my work), I couldn't help but take note. As soon as Protein Bar put up a little "coming soon" sign, I started e-mailing the owners asking when I could start eating.

Today was the day! After brisk workout, I walked right on over to Protein Bar and ate an amazing sampling of the best the joint has to offer. All I can say is that I'm really sad I don't work across the street anymore because they actually have food I want to eat and coffee worth walking over for. However, it's probably for the best, because I would never pack a lunch again.

I started with breakfast entrees: the pancake in a bowl oatmeal topped with bananas and the Santa Fe scramble.  The oatmeal was interesting because unlike McDonald's or Starbucks, the oats are cooked al dente, so you get a better texture.  The fruit also changes with what's available seasonally. The scramble was mighty tasty, and I thought would be something I'd love to eat after lifting at the gym. When I got home, Tim loved the leftover eggs because they were nice and spicy.
 

We moved on to lunch entrees, which featured some of my favorite dishes of the day. I had the spinach pesto quinoa along with a buffalo chicken bar-rito.  The burrito was clearly my favorite as I ate half of it in mere seconds.  The buffalo sauce is actually vegan, and the burrito was packed with the Super 6 Salad Mix. I like it because it was spicy, the chicken was filling, the quinoa was cooked perfectly and the salad mix was crunchy.  The pesto bowl was equally awesome, featuring a very cheesy sauce with fresh baby spinach. Best part? All of these dishes were between 280 and 550 calories, making it a very manageable option for a healthy breakfast or lunch.


I rounded out my breakfast with a protein shake that has changed my life.  Seriously.  It's healthy, protein-packed and caffeinated.  And chocolate. My life is complete, people.  There are tons of protein and shake options (and they all have really cute Chicago-themed names), but I went with the Millennium Perk. It featured chocolate protein powder, espresso protein, your choice of milk and house-made cocoa malt.  It was so creamy and rich, I would have never thought it was healthy and one of the lowest-calorie options on the menu.

I appreciate that this place offers a variety of flavors and comfort meals with a lower calorie profile. In addition to great food, I also like that they offer vegan and gluten-free options, since I'd like to be able to have a great meal with my friends who have dietary needs (Kim and Alissa, I'm looking at you).

Because I pink-puffy heart this place, I want to share it with all of you.  I have giftcards for a complimentary lunch as well as a blended drink of your choice.  To enter, leave a comment about your favorite healthy lunch. I'll use Random.org to select a winner on 6 p.m. Monday.

15 comments:

Lauren said...

Once in awhile for lunch i treat myself to a buffalo barrito or bowl from Protein Bar.

Kelly @ Running Kellometers said...

My favorite healthy lunch is a kale salad with lots of veggies and a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

laurenruns.com said...

Mmmmm this is delicious!!! My favorite healthy lunch is either a bowl of chili, or a "big ass salad"!

Jennifer Ralston said...

Salads i love salads

Cate said...

I want to visit Protein Bar even more after reading your review!
my favorite lunch is a good turkey sandwich on ww bread and lots of fresh veggies!

findingblissforme said...

I rarely eat lunch out BUT I had dinner at Protein Bar and LOVED it so I have a feeling that I would also love lunch at Protein Bar. I love, love, love salads for lunch,

Katie said...

I LOVE protein bar! My favorite healthy lunch is a big salad!

Lynn said...

This place sounds AWESOME!!!!! I would LOVE to try the buffalo barrito!!! My usual "healthy" lunch is leftovers of whatever "healthy" dinner I made the night before :-)

runningthewindycity said...

My favorite healthy lunch is either a big salad or a quinoa dish with protein and veggies.

Becca said...

My favorite healthy lunch is the Biggest Loser Turkey Chili, heated up of course!

Sierra said...

Recently, my healthy lunch of choice has been a kale salad with a lemony dressing, but if I'm getting lunch out, Protein Bar is awesome (and a block from my building) and Potbelly's black bean soup.

emmers712 said...

My favorite healthy lunch is any one that includes food from all of the food groups, includes ingredients that are minimally processed, and has lots of fiber. If I can go without anything desserty then that makes it even better!

kilax said...

Healthy lunch? Uh... salad. Ha ha. I usually eat leftovers that are healthy, but in amounts that are not.

I love that they have vegan stuff on the menu. I had a hard time figuring out if any of the protein shakes were vegan online thouh.

Unknown said...

I don't want to officially enter the giveaway because we got some great coupons in the goody bag (I think it's over anyway) but I just had to say how glad I am that you liked Protein Bar! Seriously, that place knows how to make healthy food taste fantastic.

Happy New Year's Eve!

VeggieNextDoor said...

I love this place. I always order a green juice and a scramble with tofu subbed for the eggs.