Trends never seem to make any sense. For example, dad shoes became the sneaker trend of the year among young fashion models, bike shorts became a phenomenon among people who don’t bike and all food started to be served in a bowl. Forget plates — that’s so not millennial.
The food-in-bowls trend started on Instagram in 2016, and according to The Wall Street Journal, the trend is still going strong and seems less like a “fleeting fashion” and more like a “lasting manner.” So, feel free to get rid of any plates, because this trend isn’t going anywhere. The trend was promoted by wellness bloggers for the loads of nutrients piling into the bowl and for how aesthetically pleasing it looks.
Like most trends starting on social media, it then spread to local hipster restaurants in various cities, eventually moving to chain restaurants. Food in bowls now can be found just about anywhere, and here are some of the restaurants in Atlanta locals go to ditch the plate completely.
Grain & Salad Bowls
Upbeet is the epitome of a Los Angeles-inspired restaurant in the South. With minimalist walls and decor, aesthetic neon lights and an entire fridge dedicated to kombucha, people would never guess they were in Westside Atlanta. The restaurant’s motto “Good Vibes Only” refers to their idea of serving non-GMO foods, grass-fed animal protein and organic vegetables. Fit for a healthy diet on the go, Upbeet is quick and offers healthy food without the time consumption of cooking from home.
Similar to Chipotle, customers order their bowls in an assembly-line fashion. With a diverse menu from everything to grain bowls with quinoa and bamboo rice to customized salads from every cuisine like the “Fiesta Bowl” or “My Thai,” the choices are endless. Customers can even build their own to make for an aesthetically pleasing photo. With several toppings from organic nuts and cheeses and housemade gluten-free and vegan dressings, anyone can get creative in making their bowl camera- and tummy-ready.
Upbeet also serves toasts, smoothies and superfood lattes, but Gusto, an Atlanta-based fast food spot, sticks strictly to the food-in-bowls trend. Opened in 2014 by former NFL quarterback Nate Hybl, Gusto has several locations throughout Atlanta from Decatur to Ponce and even a location in Chamblee with a soon-to-be drive-thru for bowls on the go.
As with Upbeet, Gusto customers order in an assembly-line fashion. First, customers choose from sauces created by Hybl himself like his #1 chipotle, mango and avocado sauce, then protein options (shrimp, steak, chicken, portobello, avocado, etc.), all free of antibiotics, and a base (rice, salad, both or a wrap). Once customers design their Instagram-ready bowl, every meal comes with a side of housemade sweet potato chips.
Açaí & Fish Bowls
The food-in-bowls trend is fit for just about every meal of the day. Whether it be a salad for lunch or a grain bowl for dinner, the trend even follows into breakfast with açaí bowls. Açaí is a South American berry that’s bursting with nutrients and loaded with antioxidants.
Several places in Atlanta offer açaí bowls, but Vitality Bowls in Midtown specializes in them. With more than 10 different bowl options offering from anything to hearty bowls with peanut butter and granola to immunity boosting with raw ginger and bee pollen, Vitality Bowls has it all. Just like most bowl places, customers can add in their own creativity and make their own wellness bowl, such as adding tropical toppings like mangos and pineapples or even make their bowl extra sweet by adding chocolate chips and honey.
The latest food-in-bowl trend is poke, which is sliced raw fish from Hawaii. Poke is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. The bowl is based with white sushi rice, brown rice or salad and topped with a variety of ingredients like seaweed, sesame seeds, raw tuna or salmon and even masago (fish eggs).
The most popular poke place among Georgia State students is Fish Poke Bowl located on Broad Street and inside the Sweet Auburn Market. Always packed with a line, customers grab a pen and paper and design their own bowl by checking off toppings like shrimp, tofu, and various veggies and sauces.