Noodles and Company delivers tasty lunch, dinner options

By Michael McGovern

If you are looking for a healthy, fast food option, look no further than Noodles and Company. Offering a wide variety of noodle dishes (American, Mediterranean and Asian), as well as soups and salads, Noodles and Company continues to be a popular lunch and dinner spot for all ages and palettes.

I happened to go to the one on the corner of Henderson and Reed, which is the most convenient location for Upper Arlington goers.

When you walk in, you’ll notice a very modern setting with art pertaining to the nationality of the different dishes. This makes the place fairly pleasant to the eyes and welcoming if you dine in. It’s a little bit of a maze as you trek your way to the front counter. But see it as a way to look around and see the somewhat comical art around the restaurant.

The large, overhead menu gives everyone a clear view of all the option. It’s very organized so that everyone can easily find what they want. It’s a primarily vegetarian selection with meat suggestions (shown next to the dishes) as an options. One glaring problem is that the prices for all the dishes are not listed. Not that this place costs a fortune, however it’s convenient to know initially how much you’re going to be charged. Plus with the meat options costing $1.99 extra, it can get confusing when it comes to which items cost what. However as I said, this place won’t break the bank and is a healthy option. Another minor issue is that there isn’t any health info (calories, fat content, etc.). For a place that strives to be a healthy alternative to fast food, I believe displaying the health and nutrition facts would be helpful in promoting that idea.

That said, in my visits I have tried their Wisconsin Mac and Cheese, as well as the Japanese Pan Noodles. I’ve found that the macaroni and cheese tends to be the most popular dish for younger goers. It’s not a healthy item compared to the other noodle dishes; however, it helps to bring in a younger demographic. On top of that, it is far different from the out of the box macaroni and cheese. They use real milk and cheeses which is proven in the dishes appearance and taste.

The other dish I mentioned is for people with a more diverse palette. This dish combines items such as bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and soy sauce to give it an authentic, stir-fry taste. It is also a dish that can help to introduce more diverse foods. If you happen to frequently go here, you’ll probably find yourself trying new dishes on a regular basis.

While offering a variety of dishes, the portion sizes are a little too small for my liking. I believe it is due to the fact that they strive to be as healthy as possible.

Now with a restaurant like this, fast service is everything, and they don’t disappoint. After ordering up front, I can sit wherever I please, indoors or outside. If it’s warm outside, I’d recommend eating outside. It’s cleaner that most outdoor areas at other restaurant and has umbrellas for shade. Now after, about five minutes of waiting, a waiter brings you your food. I don’t know how they find your table so fast, especially in a crowd, but they do it. And for all the lazy people out there, the staff does all the clearing of the dishes. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your meal, whether you’re in a hurry or taking your time.

So after putting everything together, I think Noodles and Company is a great restaurant, and still improving. Over the last couple of years, they have almost doubled the selection on their menu! Which leads to the only glaring problem, which is the menu itself. With a health-conscious restaurant like Noodles and Company, posting nutrition information can greatly help the customers in deciding what to eat and may help them gain popularity.

Image courtesy Noodles and Company