The health craze has become a wildfire trend and a rapid money-maker within the past decade, making it cool to be gluten-free, making people pretend like they actually know the difference between chia, hemp and flax seeds and making it okay for Emory students to drive 30 minutes in Atlanta traffic to Upbeet, West Midtown’s fast-casual health restaurant..
Upbeet’s goal to create a trendy dining experience basically hits you in the face when you read their menu; “The Bachelor” grain bowl, “Spin Class” salad, “Brotein Shake” smoothie and “G.O.A.T” toast are only a few among many other options that appeal to the most basic among us. Though the names are distracting, the food is delicious; any topping you’d ever want to put in a salad, from pomegranate seeds to agave sriracha tofu, is offered, and bamboo, quinoa and purple rice are your options for the base.
I chose to create my own salad with arugula, mango and brussel sprouts among other toppings, but my biggest recommendation is the tuna poke — it’s a must. I also ended up getting the toasted sesame dressing even though the ginger miso dressing and truffle vinaigrette are also delicious choices. Other tempting toppings are the sweet potato, cauliflower and the vegan meatballs for non-meat eaters. It’s worth noting that the salads are large enough to take half home for later. My next visit to Upbeet will probably be in the morning because their breakfast options are endlessly appealing, from the “Peanut Butter Bliss” smoothie bowl to the “Berries + Basil” toast.
Upbeet, which opened in June, is the sibling restaurant to Yeah! Burger, both owned by Young + Hungry, a company that looks to create nutritional, efficient and environmentally-friendly establishments that counter the unhealthy fast-food industry. Different from Yeah! Burger’s style of a healthy hamburger joint, Upbeet offers create-your-own options like salads, as well as a lengthy menu of different combinations of grain bowls, smoothies and acai bowls.
Upbeet markets to the most typical millennial both in its menu and the restaurant’s stylish interior. White walls, plastic greenery and a framed collage of mindless scenes like a girl’s hair blowing in the wind or light pink flowers next to an “ATL” sign epitomizes the millennial obsession with aesthetically-pleasing Instagram feeds.
Though you’ll have to schlep to West Midtown, eating at Upbeet is worth the trek. Kale Me Crazy in Virginia-Highland is its only competitor, and although Kale Me Crazy wins in the convenience department, Upbeet surpasses it in every other aspect.
Before going to Upbeet for the first time, there are some disclaimers that are necessary to know: Don’t try going on the weekends because the line will be out the door; if you don’t like health novelty drinks like Kombucha, don’t bother trying the “soda” fountain, because that’s all you’ll find. If you get overwhelmed with options easily, look at the menu online beforehand, because the ordering is fast-paced. And lastly, keep in mind how many items you’re getting because extra toppings can get pricey. Despite the overuse of puns and its overbearing desire to be trendy, Upbeet definitely surpassed my expectations and lived up to the Emory hype.