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Smoothie King

Review No. 148: Smoothie King

985 Carson Cove, Suite D

(501) 336-9555

68.0 percent finished reviewing Conway restaurants

 

The Situation

She Said: I was looking for a quick, easy hit of high protein on a busy day, and a cursory review of Smoothie King’s menu online let me know this was the place for me and He Said for lunch.

He Said: Smoothie King is a large chain of health-food franchises with more 1,000 locations worldwide. Based in the New Orleans area (where their name appears on the NBA Pelicans Arena), Smoothie King was started in 1973 when their lactose-intolerant founder invented an alternative to the malts and shakes he was unable to enjoy himself.

Personally, I’ve never had any interest in smoothies as a food group, figuring I really needed something a bit more substantial for lunch. So this was my introduction to the concept of a smoothie as a meal, because when I’ve visited such establishments before, I’ve also had food along with the drink.

 

Ambience:

She Said: It’s pretty plain and utilitarian here. There’s a large display on the side wall of health products you can buy to take home, like their protein powders and supplements. We enjoyed our “lunches” at a table, thought there aren’t many, and it’s pretty loud in there with the industrial refrigerators and smoothie machines. So, I wouldn’t “drink in” again, but would rather use the drive-through behind the strip mall and order mine to go.

He Said:Yeah, it’s not really unpleasant to eat, or drink, on the premises, but it’s not exactly a great thrill either. Kind of like eating a brown bag lunch in a gym. I’d get lunch to go, or drive through, if I were coming again.

 

Drinks

She Said: Well, that’s what they specialize in here, healthy smoothies. As I mentioned, I was looking for lean protein, and reviewing the menu let me know that the “Gladiator” smoothie boasts 49 grams of protein. Adding a double dose of peanut butter brought me up to at least 59 grams, so that was what I was looking for. With the extra peanut butter, my chocolate Gladiator tasted like a chocolate-peanut butter shake, heavy on the PB. I loved it. This is not only high protein, but it’s also low carb and low fat. I enjoyed it, drank it all and congratulated myself on finding this.

But it’s a weird feeling, as if my body is partly full and not needing food and also partly empty of nutrition and looking for actual food. I’m pretty granola, y’all, prefer whole foods and healthy options, so protein powders are low on my list of potential sources of nutrients, and this “fake feeling of food” is why. Oh, I’m not above pulling through Smoothie King’s drive through in the future when I’m in a pinch—and there are many other smoothie options to meet your individual needs—but I was happy the next day when I broke my overnight fast with real food for breakfast.

He Said: The Slim-N-Trim Vanilla smoothie looked good to me. These slim and trim options come in chocolate, strawberry, or blueberry flavors in addition to the vanilla, but the vanilla contains, according to their menu bananas, protein blend, Stevia plant-based sweetener, vanilla flavor with other natural flavors and Fiber Blend Enhancer. It gives you an entire lunch with just 210 calories and, good news for me, only 2.5 grams of fat. It tasted good, pretty much like a vanilla milkshake with bananas (I could taste the bananas really powerfully, to the near exclusion of anything else). I don’t know that it was as pleasant as actually eating a good lunch, but it wasn’t bad, and it was pretty filling, which surprised me.

 

Food

She Said: They offer some pre-packaged food products, chips, bars, etc., and He Said tried one of them. I was all in on the smoothie.

He Said:I did grab a bag of veggie chips with sea salt, jus because I felt I had to have something solid in my stomach. They were a tasty but healthy snack, but the truth is I would not have felt hungry if I’d skipped the snack.

 

Service

She Said: Everyone was very helpful there. The menu is HUGE, organized by benefits categories, and the counter personnel answered our questions and took time with us newbies.

He Said: Yes, they were quite friendly and professional. You don’t have to feel like an idiot when you order, even if like me you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. They are used to us idiots here.

 

What We Got and What We Paid: One 20-ounce Gladiator Chocolate smoothie with double peanut butter addition (two add-ins come with the smoothies), one 20-ounce Slim-N-Trim Vanilla smoothie plus a bag of chips with sea salt, all for $13.50.

 

Elapsed Time from Our Arrival to Food Arrival:6 minutes

 

Rating:

She Said answers: Is this worth skipping an actual meal for (cuz I wouldn’t counsel consuming both)?Smoothie King offers nutrients from clean ingredients that don’t actually feel like food to me or my body. It’s good in a pinch, and maybe better than fast food because you can get the kind of smoothie you need, but part of your brain is still going to be looking for actual food after you consume it.

He Said:If you want a very quick (and inexpensive) lunch on a work day (or a work-out day), this place is fast and caters to people on the run (both literally and figuratively).

Is Smoothie King Good At What It’s Good For? As drive-throughs go, it’s much less guilt-laden, and given the customizability of the smoothies, it’s a solid option in meal replacements, but not meals.

 

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