Review: Fresh & light

If you’re looking for light, fresh food this summer, we’ve got you covered. And, good news: Fresh doesn’t mean slow or super pricey. Here are four places where you can grab an inexpensive meal and be on your way within half an hour or less.

If you’re looking for light, fresh food this summer, we’ve got you covered. And, good news: Fresh doesn’t mean slow or super pricey. Here are four places where you can grab an inexpensive meal and be on your way within half an hour or less.

600 Sixth St. NW, Canton

Thatsa Wrapp is a Canton Arts District mainstay. The menu has salads and wraps loaded with fresh ingredients, plus housemade chips and dip that alone are worth your trip. You can get your meal to go or dine in and enjoy the restaurant’s vast beer selection.

The menu isn’t complicated or fussy: You pick your wrap from the list of choices, and then you decide whether you want to add chips and dip, smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese, red potato salad or fresh vegetables. All the sauces and ingredients are prepared in-house each day.

The wraps are big, and I’ve never had a bad one. Some of my favorites are the strawberry thriller ($6.50, with strawberries, feta, grilled chicken, greens, glazed walnuts and basil vinaigrette), the all fired up ($5.95, with grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese, smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomato and homemade ranch dressing), and the my bleu heaven ($6.25, with spicy honey barbecue chicken breast, cheddar, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon-corn relish).

I always get an order of chips and dip when I go. The chips are the thick and crispy kind, and the creamy dip has an onion flavor I love. This place is one of my favorite food spots in downtown Canton, and I don’t think I’m alone, because it’s always packed, even when I visit during off hours.

Thatsa Wrapp serves salads, too, though I never have tried one (considering the menu also has wraps). Varieties include buffalo chicken, Mediterranean, Cesar, club and Santa Fe.

6702 Strip Ave. NW, Jackson Township

Pulp offers smoothies, juices, wraps, bowls and salads, all made with real fruit and vegetables. The smoothie choices are a bit overwhelming—there are classic smoothies, tropical smoothies, citrus smoothies, soy smoothies and high-energy smoothies, which are made with Red Bull. There also is a category of super smoothies that pack extra protein or supplements. All in all, you have 30 from which to choose.

I only made it through four, but I wish I had been able to try them all. They were delicious and, for the most part, different from anything I’d make at home with the ingredients I usually have on-hand. My favorite of the bunch was the Elite Eight, which is a blend of pineapple juice, strawberry juice, strawberries, peaches, mangoes and yogurt. It was refreshing and filling and maintained its frozen smoothie texture even after I had abandoned it at room temperature for several hours while I was at a rehearsal.

I also sampled the Strawberry Banana, with strawberry juice, pineapple juice, bananas, strawberries and yogurt; the Mango Tango, with papaya juice, passionfruit-mango juice, mangoes and yogurt; and the Three Berry with strawberry juice, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and yogurt.

The other big winner for me was the PB&G wrap ($6), which is granola, peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, honey and banana all mixed together in a whole-wheat wrap. I ate most of it for dinner and saved some for breakfast the next day, and it works for either meal.

Don’t be fooled, though: Fresh, in this case, does not equal healthy or guilt-free. Most smoothies are made with sherbet, the peanut butter is not the no-sugar-added kind, and granola generally is a calorie bomb. You can have yogurt substituted for sherbet in your smoothie at no extra cost, but the low-fat vanilla variety that’s used in the wraps has added sugar, too.

Prices on smoothies vary by category. A medium 24-ounce drink will cost about $5, and a large 32-ounce runs about $6.75.

SOL Pie Pizza
3159 Whitewood St. NW, Plain Township

SOL Pie Pizza boasts that it is sustainable, organic or all-natural, and local, and its menu looks a little different from other pizza places I’ve visited.

You pick your pizza size, and then you add as many toppings as you want. A large pizza with 10 slices is $12. Additional toppings—veggies, meats, extra cheeses—are $2.25 each at that size, and premium toppings—bacon, pineapple, sun-dried tomato—are $5.50 each.

There also are about a dozen specialty pizzas, if you’re feeling adventurous or want someone else to handle the creative work for you.

Admittedly, my first reaction when I looked at the menu was sticker shock—$23 for a large specialty pizza felt steep. But the pizza did come topped with tons of fresh ingredients, so the cost made more sense to me after I had a few bites.

I ordered the Pesto Apollo, which is a pizza with basil pesto sauce, caramelized onions, Peppadew peppers, grilled chicken, sautéed portabella mushrooms, mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, Romano, house seasoning, a ranch dressing that has a paste-like consistency, and basil, though the restaurant was out of fresh basil the weeknight I picked up. The veggies all were flavorful on their own, and I really enjoyed all the elements of the pizza together.

Some of the other specialty choices are the Aloha Hawaiian ($20, with garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, mozzarella, ham, bacon, provolone, pineapple and toasted coconut), the Jalapeño Popper Pie ($21, with garlic oil, ricotta cheese, onions, bacon, candied jalapeños, smoked cheddar cheese, house seasoning and a drizzle of berry sauce), and the Classic Carnivore ($20, with pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon).

I also got a small order of cheesy bread ($5), which came with a cup of delicious marinara sauce for dipping. The dough was crispy, and the four cheeses were topped with house seasoning.

If pizza isn’t your thing, the menu also includes stromboli, subs, salads and bowls with grains, veggies and protein.

6174 Promler Ave. NW, Jackson Township

The fast-casual restaurant says its name and food inspiration comes from California cuisine—food that’s delicious without being too heavy and that promotes an active lifestyle.

This menu is best described as eclectic. There are seafood tacos, chips and salsa, pizzas, rice bowls, salads and wraps, which you can get for takeout or order to dine in.

The pizzas ($7.50) are almost personal-sized. I can eat half of one by myself, so I recommend getting at least two if that’s all you plan to order. Plus, the toppings are unusual and worth sampling.

I tried the sweet barbecue chicken, which has a little Old Carolina Barbecue Company flavor (the two eateries are in the same restaurant group). The pizza comes with mozzarella, provolone, smoked Gouda, chicken breast, red onion, Old Carolina sweet barbecue sauce and cilantro. The flavors work well together, and the pizza is served out of the brick oven hot with a crispy and chewy crust.

I’ve also had the Santa Barbara (basil pesto, Monterey jack, mozzarella, grilled shrimp, pine nuts, Parmesan and black pepper) and the Coronado Beach, which basically is a loaded potato on a pizza. The sweet barbecue chicken is superior to both, in my opinion.

The “halfsie” rice bowl ($5.25) had four citrus shrimp and was loaded with brown rice, veggies, cabbage, lettuce and salsas, with two spicy sauces on the side. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best rice bowl I’ve ever eaten. I also tried some of the flavored guacamole ($4.50). There’s an original, a mango and red pepper, a smoked Gouda and bacon, and a goat cheese and sun-dried tomato. I picked the last one and liked the tangy taste it had.

Of all the fresh places I tried, this one tasted the least fresh to me because it seemed to be the most pre-prepared. The guacamole base was scooped out of a tin and mixed with the add-ins we order, rather than being prepared from scratch, and our chips had been sitting behind the counter in a bag.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass