Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crispers, Lakeland

Yeah, I know I usually don't write about chain restaurants. Sometimes, though, I look through Urban Spoon and realize there is nothing at all in the comments about a place, which doesn't inspire the first timer to go check out something good, sooo...

I'm a huge fan of the place were I can get a soup and salad, or a light sandwich, places that Ed serves 'chick food'. Whatever he calls them, a chain that can consistently serve good, fresh food will earn my business quicker than a place serving frozen burgers and they take my order through a speaker. Just the way it is, and Crispers, while a chain, turns the idea of chain restaurant on its ear.

First off, their parent company is Publix, the top-tier grocery chain based here in Lakeland. They pride themselves on quality, so it's no surprise that Crispers is a well run quick-serve place. If you've never been, this is like Panera or Atlanta Bread Company-but better.

While those two chains are known as much for the bakery offerings as their soups and salads, Crispers puts more of their energy into fresh made food options beyond the soup, salad and sandwiches. The soups are homemade, with a larger variety than the other two chains. My go to choice is the kicking crab corn chowder,
a nice, savory and creamy soup that packs a little bit of a spicy bite and plenty of claw crab meat. It a dense, but not too heavy soup that fills me up and it's a rare visit where I don't have a bowl of this sitting in front of me.

Today, I went for their signature Summer Salad, a mixed green salad that has sliced turkey, strawberries, onions, apples, candied pecans and a lemon poppyseed dressing. It also comes with gorgonzola cheese crumbles, but I have to skip the blue-veined cheeses. Still, it's bursting with flavor without the addition of cheese:
They used to serve this with a multigrain crisp as garnish, but I didn't have one today, so I'm not sure if that's gone. Still, even without the crisp, I enjoy the mixture of flavors and textures.

In addition to the many soups and salads, they serve flat breads, hot sandwiches, and pasta dishes. Another favorite of mine is their chicken salad, made creamy with the addition of yogurt. My friend Jenn got a french dip today, and I'd forgotten this treat on the menu, full of medium rare roast beef and melted mozzarella.

If you're in the mood for something sweet after your meal, there's an array of cookies, ice cream and even miniature dessert cups, so you can indulge in something without the guilt. I just wish there was one closer to campus, although I now have one close to work, so I may end up sitting with lunch and using their wi fi before heading to campus or to pick GameTeen up from school. Seriously, if you have one nearby and you haven't yet, give it a try. They prepare your food to order, the ingredients are fresh and the quality can't be beat for the price.

Crispers on Urbanspoon

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