Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Cava: The Restaurant Chain With A Regrettable Location Problem

Did you ever find a restaurant that seems to have a great menu, good service, and disastrous locations? Most of the time, this only seems to happen with certain chains that are famous for discount food. (For example, I’ve met people who note that the presence of a Checkers is a bad sign in terms of neighborhood.) 

Lately, I couldn’t help but notice that this is an issue with a restaurant chain my husband is a fan of: Cava. For those not in the know, Cava is a Middle-Eastern chain that focuses on locally-sourced foods that come in the form of a bowl or salad. It’s like the Chipotle of Mediterranean fare in terms of both ambiance and ordering style. 

CAVA restaurant
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cava Experience With Yours Truly

When it comes to Cava, my husband always pesters me to drive there for a bowl of their food. I always try to dissuade him from going there, though! Eventually, we go there, and then try to avoid eating there.

For someone who’s a junkie for good food, it can be hard to imagine why I’d ever act this way. Ever wonder what could make a restaurant with great food make a food critic balk? It’s actually very simple.

The Problem That Killed My Cava Appetite

When you’re working on a restaurant chain, location and ambiance are everything.The ambiance of Cava’s interior isn’t bad, though most locations are crazily packed. Once again, it’s very Chipotle-like in this sense. It’s the places that Cava calls home that seem to make me wince.

Every time I’ve seen a Cava, there seems to be three things that ring true about the location:

  • The foot traffic is crazy. Like, I’m saying that there is never a lull here, unless it was during that first curfew during the pandemic.
  • They’re located in areas that tend to attract entitled, snooty people. At least, this seems to be the problem in New Jersey. I’ve seen so many people pitch fits over stupid stuff at their Paramus location, it actually put me off the chain altogether. 
  • Without fail, people’s behavior around the outside of the location make me lose my appetite. How many Karens screeching about a parking space does it take to make me never want to go near a place again? One. Just one. 

Get Your Sh*t Together, Cava!

Cava has an amazing menu that would make most people start craving them on a regular. They also have some of the best organic non-alcoholic drinks ever. However, they have got to do something about their locations. This chain could end up choking itself if it doesn’t!

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a food critic, writer, and at home culinary enthusiast!

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