Healthy never tasted so good

Healthy never tasted so good

Delicious dishes at Flavors Eatery in Centerville

 By Brandy King

 
Photo: Turkey Bacon wrap with chips, housemade salsa and house dressing at Flavors Eatery in Centerville

I’ve been going to Flavors Eatery in Centerville for years and the food has always been consistently delicious. Name nearly any dietary preference and they can accommodate it: vegan, slow-carb, Weight Watchers, gluten-free, etc. They were doing Paleo before Paleo was a thing. I remember the first time I went there I was a little less than thrilled with the noise and the fact that they don’t have fountain soda – which means no refills, and this still bugs me about China Cottage.

With subsequent visits, though, I noticed that most of the roar was coming from exuberant, cheerful interactions between the staff – which, for a long time, consisted only of the husband and wife team that owns Flavors – and their regular customers – a combination of folks they’ve known for years through the community or faces they’ve grown to know by seeing them at lunch every week. You can’t really hate on that kind of connection between business owners and their customers. They’ve also since invested in a soda machine, so I quickly had nothing left to bemoan.

As extensive as their menu is, it’s difficult to try everything. Making it even more difficult is that you’re likely to fall in love with the first item – or maybe the first two – that you order, if you’re anything like me. I find myself having lunch there at least a few times a year and always lean towards the chicken artichoke pizza or the Atkins log.

I opted for the pizza, and my lunch date ordered one of the wraps in a children’s size – which was more than enough for a healthy-sized lunch for an adult. Most of the non-Paleo or low-carb stuff comes with a few tortilla chips and their house made salsa, as well as a drizzle of their house sauce, which is lovely. It’s akin to a thin ranch, loaded with a lot more herbs and flavor. You’ll find the house sauce on a lot of items, including some of the pizzas.

This would be a good time to specify that the “Gourmet Pizzas” listed on their menu aren’t as guilty as they sound. I believe they have some more traditional pies, but the ones listed under “Gourmet” and typically ordered as a 4-inch individual portion are served on a folded wrap and are almost overwhelmed with toppings before baking. Mine had huge chunks of roasted chicken, artichokes and other veggies, asiago cheese and house sauce. With the addition of chips and salsa, your plate overfloweth. For reference, don’t be embarrassed to fork and knife this dish. They serve it with flatware for a reason.

One of the owners came over and chatted us up for a while, since my lunch companion was one of those familiar faces that he’s known for years. He mentioned that they’re opening a new location in Lebanon in the very near future, which has been a long time coming. Flavor’s Centerville location is always packed and gets busier every day with the high demand of more fast-casual food choices prompted by diets and lifestyle changes like gluten-free and Paleo.

The best part about the eatery is that they do all of this without rubbing your nose in how conscious and hip they are. Usually, if I find myself eating somewhere that has a menu geared towards special diets, I feel like I’m stuck in an episode of “Portlandia” where the server suggests that I meet my free-range chicken before eating him. The owners, Rich and Elaine, and their establishment just are what they are:  laid back and enjoyable.

Even though I wasn’t still hungry by any means, I had a little hankering for something sweet, so we decided to split a piece of apple pie since all of the pumpkin bakery items were sold out. I was getting one of the last pieces in the dish, so while it wasn’t the cream of the crop in terms of looks, it was still an impressive slice on the taste tip.

For the meat and potatoes men reading, don’t let all of the “California style” food choices scare you away. About half the places I review are places that my husband would either find nothing to order, or would not voluntarily go back. I mark those places with a mental note of “Not Hoosier Friendly,” due to their lack of more basic choices that most men tend to lean towards. Flavors has all sorts of burritos, subs, nachos and quesadillas that can accommodate the pickiest dude or child. So fellas, what I’m saying here is that if you have a picky girlfriend that refuses to eat grains, carbs or meat – take her here. The vibe is very eclectic, casual and bustling, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a nice evening out – but a nice, long lunch on a Saturday would be perfect. You’ll find a lot of couples and families with littles dining here because there’s something for everyone to love.

The only thing I would change is how the food is served up. It seems counterintuitive for a healthy, Cali-style eatery to produce so much waste in paper plates – but stranger still is using real flatware on a disposable plate. Invest in some basic plates and let your presentation match your food. My camera can only do so much when the amazing dish I’m enjoying is being captured atop a flowery Dixie plate.

 

Flavors Eatery is located at 86 E. Franklin St. in Centerville. For more information please call 937.434.6336 or visit flavorseatery.com.

 Reach DCP freelance writer Brandy King at BrandyKing@DaytonCityPaper.com and visit her blog, foodvsface.com. Caricature by Jay King.

 

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