Where do lovers of health food go for a quick drink served with a smile? If youre the type who likes your sweet beverage to contain something more nutritional than refined sugar and artificial flavors, then one place you might enjoy is Smoothie King, a restaurant that specializes in high- nutrition beverages and snacks.
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Smoothie King is known mostly for its drink products, but there is more to be purchased here than just a cold beverage. Here is what you can find at Smoothie King:
Smoothies- This is the most popular item on the menu and its the drink most associated with this restaurant chain. There are more flavors than you can imagine, with about forty to fifty different flavors to choose from, each made with various juices, extracts, and plenty of ice.
Hot Beverages- If you like your drinks on the warmer side, Smoothie King offers choices like Blueberry Muffin, Banana Nut, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, and other flavors of hot drinks.
Snacks- If you would like a little food with your drink, Smoothie King offers soups, cookies, protein bars, turkey jerky, and King Stix- breadsticks stuffed with different nutritional ingredients like spinach, apples, and other foods.
Enhancers- Not really a food in the usual sense, these are additives that Smoothie King will combine with your drink for added nutritional benefits. Some enhancers include caffeine charge, female enhancer, multi- vitamin, and muscle builder.
Supplements- The inside of Smoothie King contains plenty of vitamins and other nutritional supplements sold in plastic containers and ready to take home.
The inside of Smoothie King is small, and there are usually only a few seats. If I had to describe the theme it would be, of course, one of nutrition. There isnt really any space in a place this small to offer any other type of theme. What little wall area is available contains advertisements and factual information about Smoothie King products and their value.
Smoothie King beverages are generally sold in three sizes: small (20 oz.) medium (32 oz.) and large (40 oz.). The price for each level is approximately $3.50, $4.99, and $5.99. There are slight variations in price based on the drink you purchase, but they all fall within this range, plus or minus about 50 cents. This is more expensive than comparable- sized drinks in most other restaurants.
Food and snack items are also expensive at Smoothie King. A protein bar, cookie, small bag of nuts, etc., will usually cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50, making this establishment one of the more expensive fast- food restaurants.
Service at this restaurant is ok but it often seems a little slower than it actually is because of the time required to make the drinks. Smoothie King mixes all of its beverages fresh, right before your eyes, so you can expect to wait a little longer than in other fast- food restaurants. But they usually have two or three people working at once so, all things considered, the workers do a commendable job and they get your drink to you as fast as it takes to make it.
Smoothie King is a restaurant designed for those who want more nutrition than found in the average fast food beverage. Founded in 1973, Smoothie King was created by Steve Kuhnau- a man who suffered from low blood sugar and allergies who wanted a restaurant that had a greater nutritional emphasis for people like himself and others. Along with his wife Cindy, the couple created a restaurant that stressed the importance of healthy eating. Today, this chain has grown and expanded to nearly 400 locations across the United States.
With Smoothie King, you get a choice of fast- food that is quite different from other restaurant chains. I have visited Smoothie King many times over the past couple of years and at first I was a little cautious and also a little curious. I had heard about these restaurants and their nutritional products and I wondered if the high nutritional content and all the additives would have a negative impact on the flavor. The only way to find out was to give the place a chance, so I finally mustered up the courage one day and I ventured inside.
One thing about Smoothie King that will catch people by surprise at first is the large number of beverage options available. Before I stepped through the doorway for the first time, I expected the place to have maybe ten to fifteen beverage choices. You can imagine my surprise when I gazed at the extensive menu on the wall behind the main counter. It just keeps going and going and it can be a little frustrating. There are so many flavors to choose from and many of them sound very good. It can take a long time to make up your mind.
Smoothie Kings most popular drinks are the frozen smoothies and these are the drinks I have purchased most frequently when I have visited. But I have found that some drinks are better than others. I like the Pineapple Surf and the Coconut Surprise is also nice. But some of the other choices are not that tasty. Blackberry Dream, for example, is one Smoothie that sounds better than it tastes. This drink isnt as rich and delicious as its name suggests. Far from being a dream, this Smoothie is rather bland in flavor and its nutritional value (aside from the low level of fat) isnt as good as many of the other drinks.
Speaking of the nutrition, this is the main reason why some people love Smoothie King and visit it so frequently. But not all beverages are created equally. Take the Strawberry X-Treme, for example. A 20 oz. serving contains 370 calories and no fat or cholesterol, but it also has 91 grams of carbohydrates and only 3 grams of protein. In contrast, a 20 oz. serving of High- Protein Almond Mocha has 402 calories, 12.9 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbohydrates, and 31 grams of protein. As you can see, depending on your nutritional goals, some of the drinks served at Smoothie King may not have the levels of calories, protein, carbs, and fat that youre looking for. You need to check first, before you place your order.
The food served at Smoothie King is also mixed in nutritional value and quality. The soups are actually not too bad. But the protein bars and some of the other healthy snacks are nasty to say the least. I tried to eat one of these protein bars one day and had a hard time finishing. It was supposed to be peanut butter flavored, but all I thought about as I chewed was the bland, chemical- like flavor, similar to what you experience if you take an ordinary vitamin, large pain tablet, or other medicinal pill (the non- chewable type), chop it up, and proceed to swallow the small pieces. These bars are good for those who want to boost their levels of protein in their diets, but trust me when I tell you that your taste buds will pay the price. Mine bar was so bland, I took only a few bites and threw the rest in the trash.
Since Smoothie drinks are frozen, they are, of course, very cold to drink. The insulated cups the restaurant serves them in are helpful because you cant feel the cold on your hands. But one bad thing about the insulated cups is that they keep the melting process to a minimum. This means that, once you get near the bottom of your drink, the straw will likely no longer work. You will have to open up the lid and scoop out the remains of your icy beverage in order to finish.
Overall, I have mixed feelings on Smoothie King restaurant. I have found a few good- tasting choices on the menu but I have also found some that are not very good. And even those that taste better than the others are still not mouth- watering delicious. They are no substitute for, say, a thick chocolate milk shake with lots of fat and calories. On the other hand, the nutritional value of these drinks is better than other fast- food restaurants.
Smoothie King is the type of place I will continue to visit on an infrequent basis when I feel the need for a cold beverage. I like the fact that there are locations near some places I like to visit, such as my favorite book stores. If they werent so conveniently located, I might not visit them much at all, given the taste of some of the food and drink items and the higher than average prices. Nevertheless, Im still going to give Smoothie King a recommendation. There are some good drinks available. Its just a matter of trying several of them until you find the ones you like. They may not taste as good as a chocolate brownie frappacino from Starbucks, but they do make a good healthy alternative to most fast- food fare.
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