In which I become a restaurant critic….

While I have blogged on a number of widely divergent topics, I’m not sure I’ve ever started out with the intent of writing a review of a restaurant .  Until today.

I’ve had the opportunity to twice now try a brand new restaurant in Columbia, Nalley Fresh, located on Dobbin Road.  The first time was for Community Day, when they opened for free to anyone willing to stand in line (the requirement wasn’t explicitly to stand in line, it just worked out that way!), and the second was for a HoCoBlogs event.

As an engineer and neophyte architect, the first thing I noticed was the decor.  The interior is soft and modern, with an industrial touch.  There are two community tables, where 10 or more could sit, but most of the tables are 2 or 4 tops, both low and barstool high.Brighter lighting in the middle and softer lights at the edges, all with a good warm feeling.


The niche for Nalley is point and pick salads, wraps, bowls and soup…think Chipotle for the non-burrito crowd.  You start by identifying which of the four options you want; I picked bowls on both occasions.  Then you select a protein.  interestingly, this includes a couple of chicken choices, a couple of vegan choices, and a seafood or meat option.  Very nice, and both of choices (buffalo chicken one day, pulled beef the other) were nicely done and tasty.  Followed by a selection of a base — brown rice, noodles, sweet potato (!)


After that, things get crazy.  You proceed through the line adding to your creation what you want.  Not one or two, but whatever you want.  Since the selections vary by day and season, I won’t list them all but they range from 4-6 types of greens, selections of fruit, eggs, bacon, beans, grains, peppers, mushrooms, and at the end, either a dressing or a broth.  I went through and went wild….mixed peppers, banana peppers, corn, egg, bacon, tomatoes, black beans, roasted mushrooms, black olives, and green goddess dressing.   I was very pleased with both creations, and thought they tasted wonderful.


Did Columbia need another restaurant?  I think they needed this one, a healthy, fresh, alternative that works whether you like salads or bowls (and I have to think soup too, but I didn’t try that option).  If you go, and I think you should, I’d suggest going up front and looking at the selection through the overhead mirrors, so you know what is coming up and you can plan what you’d like to create.  It also gives you the option to see the proteins of the day, in case that sways your opinion on what to create.

Me….I liked it. I’ll be back.  Frequently I suspect  🙂



One response to this post.

  1. Glad you made it out! Thanks for the post-party wrap-up and restaurant review too!


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