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Maple Grove Upping its Lunch Game With Cafe Zupas

Maple Grove just upped its lunch game: Café Zupas is now open at the Fountains at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.

It has everything I could ever want in lunch food: it’s fresh, healthy, satisfying, and reasonably priced. Their mission is to be a quick-serve restaurant serving delicious food you can eat frequently, and I think they nailed it. I went three times in 2 weeks when they first opened… needless to say I’m a fan.

It’s a ‘fast casual’ restaurant serving primarily soups, salads, and sandwiches. At first glance, it sounds kind of like Panera, but they’ve successfully differentiated themselves. The atmosphere is a lot different—very bright and open, and you watch them make your food—and the flavors are definitely different. They place more emphasis on the soups and salads at Zupas whereas unsurprisingly, the breads and pastries are the highest quality items on Panera’s menu. Zupas offers a nice alternative to Panera, which has typically been my go-to for classic lunch fare.  

>>Cafe Zupas Tabbed With Best New Concept Award<<

Here’s how it works:

You approach the counter to order (it’s not a true sit-down restaurant). Your best bet is the Pick 2: whole sandwich, half salad, or half soup. The workers tell us their most popular sandwich is the Turkey Bacon Avocado Panini, salad is the Strawberry Harvest Chicken, and soup is the Chicken Enchilada Chili.

First they get your sandwich going if you ordered one, then you slide on down the line to the salad area, then the soup. My impression is that soup is what Café Zupas really prides themselves on. They make the soups each day from scratch (many restaurants prep soups ahead of time and warm them up in a bag; I used to work in food service, I would know). We were free to try samples of any of the soups before choosing one, which was a nice service. Here you can also add on premium soup toppings like croutons, cheeses, wonton strips, and sour cream. Finally at checkout you get a piece of French bread and… a fresh chocolate-dipped strawberry! It’s a nice finishing touch that comes with every meal.

Surprisingly, the entire meal comes in at under $10 if you stick with tap water for a beverage. However, this is one place where I would splurge on a drink—they have naturally infused teas like pomegranate coconut, cucumber basil green tea, and more. Honey is the primary sweetener in each of these drinks so you don’t have to feel bad about ordering one.

The majority of the clientele were dressed business casual and you can tell that Zupas is quickly becoming a staple for the corporate crowd in Minneapolis Northwest.

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Cafe Zupas

Cafe Zupas creates house-made fresh soups, salads, and sandwiches from scratch in the kitchen every day. Every soup is prepared by…