I was on my way home from the gym today and thinking what I might get for lunch to reward my workout. As I drove along Maryland Avenue, where Companion Bakery used to be, I noticed an arch of colorful balloons announcing the opening of Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh.
Yippee-dee-do-dah! I had read about the Denver-based chain, that emphasizes delicious, nutritious ingredients in its pitas, falafels, gyros, wraps, salads, kebabs and drinks. I pulled around back and found a parking place. Instantly, I became Wander Woman, donning my culinary cape, headed for another gastronomic adventure.
A young man behind the counter greeted me from across the room as I walked in and pointed me to where I should get in line to order. (It’s the reverse of Companion Bakery.) The guy in charge of the line, handed me a complimentary falafel, and explained how to place an order. I’ve noticed that several restaurants require a tutorial to navigate their menu, (Lona’s Lil Eats, Crushed Red), but this one was fairly straight forward.
Before placing my order, I inquired about the pita bread being shaped and baked in the area labeled Bakery. I learned that their pita is made from scratch as are the sauces and toppings. The chicken is antibiotic free and gluten-free pita is available. Three cheers to this Denver outfit for wanting to get the ingredients healthier.
I should mention that company CEO James Park is originally from St. Louis and is joined in the venture by locals Michael Staenberg and Eddie Cherry with the intention of bringing more Garbanzo outposts to the area. (There are 23 now, mostly in Colorado.)
I asked the food linesman what he suggested for my meal holder: pita, wrap, plate, or salad. He suggested the pita bread being made fresh before my eyes. And for the protein, the antibiotic-free chicken. After that, I picked a vegetable combo and sauces until I had completed my personal pita creation.
This warm baked pita filled with top tier ingredients was an alliance of flavors and goodness. I’d like to duplicate it on another visit, but my selections were made hastily and without names attached that I recall. For some reason, it was unusually noisy and hard to hear the servers behind the counter. We did a lot of pointing. Maybe it was just the buzz that comes with opening day.
Garbanzo was a most happy discovery. Having a Mediterranean food spa within walking distance of my condo will be the perfect place for a quick and healthy meal this winter.
Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh. 8143 Maryland Ave., Clayton. (At the corner of Forsyth and Maryland. Open: 7 days a week, 11a-10p. Seats 46 inside plus outdoor dining patio.