Is Noodles and Company Worth the hullabaloo?
Jerica Deck ‘13, Opinion Editor
So it’s six in the afternoon. First day of the week. Today had been one of those monotonous Mondays and after skipping both breakfast and my daily afternoon snack my stomach’s grumbled like a spork stuck in a garbage disposal. What did I do to stop the roars and the mcgurgles from booming through my insides? Why go to the best place to eat something a little different.
Panera Bread. Yes. Panera Bread. My first time going there I was lured in by their sign about bringing in a new lobster sandwich. Tasting the lobster bits on my tongue I quickly walked up to the counter but when the sandwich racked up to a $16.99 plus tax I quickly walked out. $16.99? In this economy? Ha.
I found myself scooting into another new place, Noodles and Company. When the glass door shut behind me it almost felt like I wasn’t in Bowie Town Center anymore because the thing about Noodles and Company is that they really sell on their funky atmosphere. The walls looked colorful and friendly. The employees were laid back and sweet. Plus, they even had a digital soda machine where you can add flavors to your soda by using a touch screen.
However what really impressed me besides their great use of earth tones and quirky furniture was their menu. They had American pasta, Mediterranean pasta, and even Asian pasta all under one roof. Within those pasta categories were several types of pasta ranging from spaghetti to indonesian peanut sauteé. From there, customers could add meats like meatballs, shrimp, and tofu.
I ordered a regular sized Truffle Mac and Cheese. This mac and cheese included succulent mushrooms, bread crumbs, truffle oil, and spices. The first bite felt like heaven. The second and third? A little more mediocre. Did I enjoy my meal, yes. However, after eating it, it wasn’t like the best thing I ever had. It could have used a little more cheddar or maybe an even sharper cheese to add flavor.
What I had really bought into was the hype. I loved everything from the quirky style to the customization to background music and even the cardboard colored menu. The thing is, Noodles is more than a restaurant; it’s an experience. What the company represents is something new, different, earthy, and exiting. It’s the alternative to McDonalds. It’s fast food with quality. It’s a big meal of pasta for about $8. The food was good, not great, but not just okay either, and even with eating this good food to go in my car I was still hypnotized by the essence of waiting for my food on a bar stool. That feeling makes Noodles and Company a quality restaurant and a cool hangout spot.