Jessica Holbrook taste-tests the cranberry almond chicken salad grilled sandwich, the Bam! Salad, the buffalo pizza, blackened chicken avocado wrap, sauteed veggies, roasted red skin potatoes, wild sockeye salmon wrap, goat cheese salad with chicken and BAM! balls at BAM! Healthy Cuisine.

Maybe it’s because we live in Ohio, where good weather is at a premium, but as soon restaurant patios start opening, I’m asking for a seat outside.

Luckily for me, both BAM! Healthy Cuisine locations have great patios, and I was more than happy to take advantage of them in early May.

I grabbed a few weekday meals at BAM’s North Canton location. I’m not usually a fan of solo dining, but BAM’s fast service and chill atmosphere makes it a nice spot to sit for a minute and enjoy a quick bite.

BAM is like most fast-casual eateries. You order at the counter, take a small metal sign with your number on it and wait for someone to bring you your food. Be prepared to wait. On each of my visits, it took about 10 to 20 minutes for my order to arrive. BAM’s food is fresh, and fresh food takes time to prepare.

If you’re in a rush, both locations allow you to order ahead for pickup. And they have a nice selection of packaged meals, baked goods and snacks ready to go.

BAM offers an expansive menu of pizza, sandwiches, salads, wraps and build-your-own bowls, as well as “smoothshakes” and a limited kid’s menu.

The menu boasts that “healthy never tasted so good!” And while the food is tasty and the menu is packed with plenty of good stuff, I wasn’t able to find any nutrition information, including calorie counts, for what I was eating. Healthy is a relative term—what’s healthy for me might not be healthy for you—and if I had specific dietary concerns, I’d want to know more about what I was eating.

That said, BAM is a welcome change from the typically heavy fast-casual meal.

I had a hard time choosing between a salad and a sandwich, so I opted for both with a pick-two combo ($8.25). I went with a half-portion of the Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad grilled sandwich ($7.05 on its own) and a half-portion of The BAM! salad ($10.99 on its own).

I’m picky about my chicken salad, but BAM hit the spot. The chicken salad is creamy but not dripping with mayonnaise, and there’s a nice crunch from the almonds and hint of sweetness from the cranberries. I wish it had a bit more seasoning—it’s borderline bland—but it’s a good accompaniment to the greens, tomatoes and sprouts on the sandwich. I also loved the flavor and texture of the grilled 9-grain bread.

If you’re avoiding bread or watching your carbs, the chicken salad also is available as a salad ($10.99 for the BAM! Chicken Salad over Greens).

The BAM! salad was exactly what I expected from a restaurant that touts healthy cuisine. It’s a generous mix of greens and fresh fruits—pineapples, mangoes, apples, strawberries and blackberries—topped with pepitas (pumpkin or squash seeds), walnuts and flax seeds. It came with a side of housemade raspberry vinaigrette that was on the sour side but paired perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to Instagram your food, this salad is up to the task. It’s colorful and looks as good as it tastes.

On another solo outing, I opted for the Wild Sockeye Salmon wrap ($13.99). It features sauteed veggies, mozz-prov cheese and a tasty sesame ginger dressing. The best part of this wrap was the veggies—a mix of red and green peppers, broccoli, squash, green beans and mushrooms—which were crunchy, fresh and tasted more grilled than sauteed.

The veggies also make up the majority of the wrap. The small amount of salmon on the wrap was well-cooked but lacked flavor.

The Goat Cheese salad ($9.99) includes creamy goat cheese, carrots, cranberries and almonds on a bed of greens. It’s served with a housemade white zinfandel dressing. I also opted to add locally raised chicken ($3.25).

The cheese was creamy, tangy and mild without any of the gaminess that sometimes comes with goat cheese. I loved how it complemented the sweetness of the cranberries and carrots. My salad was topped with a generous portion of grilled chicken that was juicy and well-cooked but needed just a bit more seasoning. I wasn’t a fan of the dressing, which I found oily and bland, but the salad was tasty enough without it.

My husband, Dave, and I visited BAM’s Jackson Township location for a weeknight dinner date.

Dave’s Blackened Chicken Avocado wrap ($9.40) was stuffed with avocado, blackened chicken, sauteed peppers, red onions, sharp cheddar and salsa.

The avocado was a delicious, with lots of flavor and a great creamy texture. We liked the addition of black beans in the salsa but wanted more heat. And the chicken, while well-cooked, didn’t have much flavor.

He opted for a side of roasted red-skin potatoes ($2.99) which were crispy and delicious.

I picked a small of The Buffalo pizza ($6.35 for four pieces/$12.35 for 12 pieces), which was served on a cute wooden paddle. The whole wheat crust was the perfect amount of chewy and crispy and was topped with olive oil and herbs, “hot and spicy sauce,” mozz-prov cheese, feta, chicken, sharp cheddar, celery and Greek yogurt ranch dressing.

The sauce had a nice kick without being overly spicy and was cooled down nicely by the crisp celery and tangy dressing. I also loved the addition of feta cheese, which paired surprisingly well with the more traditional buffalo wing flavors.

I also grabbed a side of sauteed veggies ($3.55) which turned out to be a generous portion of the same veggies in my salmon wrap. They were just as delicious as earlier.

We ended our meal with BAM! Ballz ($1.25 each), a unique blend of bananas, oats, nuts and dark chocolate. They struck me as undercooked banana bread mixed with a classic no-bake cookie. It was a weird, delicious combination that was satisfying without being too sweet.

BAM has locations at the Washington Square Plaza: 2185 E. Maple St., North Canton; and Nobles Pond: 7160 Fulton Drive NW, Jackson Township. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, see
bamhealthycuisine.com.

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