Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sayonara to the Spa, Bienvenido to the Bar

When Liz shared the news in March that our mid-day meeting spot, Spa Cafe, was no more, I was shocked and saddened. Not only was it always crowded--even on wet and dreary or super chilly days--but the menu always left me wanted to come back and try more healthy options. So when the concept changed to Lunch Rolls--now open with a menu that leaves me questioning calorie counts and playing guesswork with nutritional value--we knew we'd have to find a new Loop locale for our get-togethers. And while spring has left us buzzing with little time to spare, we've had to put those meetings on hold, which also buys us some time for finding a new joint that leaves the mayo, heavy dressing and greasy cuisine behind.

Well, I think I may have found a new location. It's a little bit longer of a walk for Liz and a shorter ride for me (the ideal would be the exact opposite), but Protein Bar, expected to open in mid-May at 235 S. Franklin, might fill the void. Or at least work in a pinch after some of our heavy training days when we need some heavy protein to aid in muscle repair. Protein Bar is located mere steps from the Sears Tower, offering a fast-casual spot with an array of grab-and-go smoothies on the menu. Select from favorites named after neighborhoods and hot-spots around the city or create your own concoction of protein base, flavor, fruit and liquid add-ins as you move down the assembly line. Owner Matt Matros is all about keeping the sugar content low in these drinks so you have a healthy sipper as part of a high-protein eating plan.

Still not sure if it's the right meal for you? Try it out Monday, May 11 at Lincoln Park's Urban Fresh Market at 1910 N. Clybourn. Metromix is hosting an exclusive tasting event from 5:30-8 p.m. where $5 will get you in the door to enjoy wine tasting and sample snacks from some of the city's new dining ventures. Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

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