A Greenville restaurant is celebrating its first anniversary of offering delicious food that's healthy.
Muscle Maker Grill, at 3150 Evans St. in Lynncroft shopping center beside Best Buy, will mark the one-year milestone from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 1 with free food and a live remote broadcast by Bob 93.3 radio station.
Muscle Maker Grill isn't just for body builders, as its name suggests. It's for diners concerned about the food they put into their body; people wanting to lose weight on a low-calorie or low-carb diet; folks who are gluten intolerant; athletes and wanna-be athletes; vegetarians; hungry men, women and children who crave a delicious, filling meal that's high in nutrition. It's for anybody who wants a good, good-for-you meal.
The menu includes burgers, healthy wraps, fit bowls, pastas, salads, skinny flatbreads, smoothies and shakes made fresh by hand with nutritious "super foods," grass-fed beef, all-natural chicken and reduced-fat ingredients with spices and low-carb dressings that pack a tasty punch.
And local owner Ahmad Aboshie is a Greenville restauranteur who is passionate about the chain's mission to create "a friendly, relaxed and social environment where people can enjoy great-tasting food, learn about healthy eating and engage with other customers."
The restaurant's Premium Burger ($8.99) is made with a grass-fed beef burger, turkey bacon, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, romaine, tomatoes, onions and the chain's zero-carb signature sauce served on a whole wheat bun. It has 570 calories and is served with a free Caesar side salad with zero-carb dressing.
A grilled chicken breast sandwich also is offered for $8.99, with a free Caesar side salad.
Muscle Maker Grill's Signature Wrap ($7.99) includes grilled chicken breast; turkey bacon; reduced-fat Cheddar cheese; a blend of romaine, spinach and baby kale; tomatoes; onions; and the chain's zero-carb signature sauce encased in a jalapeno wrap.
The Veggie Wrap ($7.99) is available in original or spicy, with portabella mushrooms, green peppers, onions sautéed with olive oil, and MMG reduced-fat cheddar cheese in a spinach wrap.
Other wraps include Chicken Caesar Wrap; BBQ Chicken Wrap; and Tex-Mex Fajita Wrap. Wraps range from 500-730 calories. They're served with a free Caesar side salad. Cost is $7.99; substitute steak or shrimp for an additional $1.89. Most menu items can be made vegetarian.
Salads are made with a "power blend" of romaine, spinach and baby kale and use fresh produce when available. Cost is $8.99 (an additional $1.89 to substitute steak or shrimp), with 270-400 calories.
The Lean Turkey Taco Salad is made with lean ground turkey, red beans and reduced-fat Cheddar cheese with salsa and fat-free sour cream.
The Asian Sesame Ginger Salad includes tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, sesame seeds, craisins, avocado and Asian sesame ginger dressing.
There's also Kale and Quinoa Salad, Italiano Salad, Chicken Caesar Salad and Mardi Gras Cajun Grilled Chicken Salad.
Fit Bowls are $9.99 (an additional $1.89 to substitute steak or shrimp) and range from 320-450 calories. The bowls have a base of brown rice broccoli, red beans and brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta.
Aboshie said MMG's most popular fit bowl is The Godfather Bowl, with grilled chicken breast, sautéed portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and MMG zero-carb balsamic vinaigrette served over steamed broccoli.
Other bowls include the Arizona, with chicken, turkey bacon, tomatoes, scallions and zero-carb signature sauce over brown rice; and the Pene and Reduced-Fat Vodka Sauce with Chicken and Parmesan; and the Teriyaki Stir Fry Bowl with grilled chicken breast, portabella mushrooms, onions, peppers, carrots and sesame seeds in a Teriyaki sauce over brown rice.
Whole-grain flatbreads range from 580-750 calories. Vegetarian flatbreads are $6.99, protein flatbreads are $8.99 and additional toppings are $1 each.
BBQ Chicken Flatbread is made with whole-grain flatbread, chicken, fat-free hickory BBQ sauce, reduced-fat Cheddar and red onion.
The Works flatbread includes turkey meatalls, turey bacon, turkey pepperoni, part-skin mozzarella, red onions, green peppers, mushrooms and fat-free marinara sauce.
Sides include baby kale, quinoa, quacamole, steamed broccoli, black beans, sweet potato sticks, cucumber salad, brown rice and beans, savory spinach and baked potato.
The appetizer menu features steamed and lightly salted edamame, seasonal soups, and char-grilled chicken strips.
Muscle Maker Grill offers smoothies made from 100 percent fruit ($4.99 for original and $6.29 for large), including strawberry; mango tropics; peach pear apricot four berry; pineapple; carrot orange; strawberry banana; and carrot apple. Fruit smoothies are half price between 2-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.
Protein shakes also are available, including Orange Dreamsicle, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana Berry Blast, Strawberry and Snappy Apple.
Boosters may be added to any shake or smoothie, including fat burner, antioxidant, high energy and muscle.
And meal plans, which start at $7 per meal, are offered with no long-term contract for pick-up or delivery. The fresh meals are packed in recyclable, microwave-safe containers.
Muscle Maker Grill was founded in 1995 by a fitness enthusiast to offer a nutritious alternative to fast food. There are more than 50 franchised and corporate restaurants in 12 states
The Greenville franchise owned and operated by Aboshie currently is the No. 1 location in sales growth.
The success of the local Muscle Maker Grill is a combination of the healthy food, a passionate owner who puts hospitality first, a kitchen staff that prepares everything quickly by hand, and fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Aboshie said his franchise provides meals for East Carolina University student athletes, caters campus events and provides catering deliveries to Vidant Healthcare and other local businesses and groups.
Catering is available for $10 per person (a full meal with drinks) with a minimum of $200 per order, Aboshie said. Catering orders may be placed online or by phone.
"I am also very active in the community," Aboshie said. "We are willing to do fundraisers and donations for the nonprofit organizations in our community who would like to partner with us."
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Call 252-756-6000. Like the Muscle Maker Grill Greenville NC Facebook page for more information.
Jane Welborn Hudson, a native of Greenville, wrote The Daily Reflector's Hot Dish restaurant column for 12 years and the Greensboro News & Record's Short Orders restaurant column for 8 years. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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