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$10 Lunch: New Build-Your-Own-Bowls Spot in Tempe

The Mediterranean is one of The Bodhi's signature salads.
The Mediterranean is one of The Bodhi's signature salads.
Samantha Pouls
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The Bodhi is a new fast-casual restaurant in Tempe based on a "create your own" style similar to a salad bar or Chipotle. The place makes a fresh, tasty lunch for under $10. The Bodhi isn't an endless salad bar where folks toss anything and everything onto their plates, defeating the purpose of a salad to begin with. The Bodhi is all about freshness and tasty, feel-good food.

This is the kind of place where standing in line as a first-timer may be intimidating. The menu covers a large portion of the wall behind the counter, and the options are numerous.

As you wait, big windows throughout the restaurant bring in sunlight and brighten moods, along with the smells of steak and fresh-cut vegetables.

Bowls with grain (quinoa, rice, and so on), legumes, vegetables, and dressings like lemon-tahini, chimichurri, or pesto anchor the menu. These are called signature bowls. You can make them more filling by adding protein like turkey or falafel.

In addition, The Bodhi serves salads, breakfast, juices, and a "sweet rush" menu section of overnight oats, an acai bowl, and a yogurt.

Once the line moves and you order, your bowl will be made in seconds, with staff quickly using measuring cups to build lunch to your specifications.

The Mediterranean salad comes with a base layer of spring mix topped with lots of organic quinoa. The bowl is filled with red peppers, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, sprinkled feta cheese, and lemon-tahini dressing.

Breakfast options range from dainty to filling. On the filling end, there's the steak and eggs bowl. The bowl is layered with steak, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, potatoes, onion, and feta cheese.

At the front of the restaurant is a juice station. Flavors such as the Go Green, made with coconut water, orange, apple, lemon, and mint, cost a mere $3.95. 

"Bodhi means enlightenment," says founder Fares Tarabichi, who also started The Crepe Club. Tarabichi teamed up with Arizona State University nutrition major Sasha Bayat to ensure that each dish is complete with nutrient-rich ingredients that also taste good.

The emphasis on the nutritional benefits of the dishes is evident, as The Bodhi has two TV screens detailing dish ingredients and their nutritional values. Employees are also trained in the nutritional benefits of the foods, and customers are encouraged to ask staff about any ingredient.

The Bodhi also offers meal plans with preselected options. Meal plans range from one day for $30 to 20 days for $570.

The Bodhi. 521 South College Avenue, #112, Tempe; 480-699-0409.
Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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