Sometimes a little knowledge is not so much a dangerous thing as just a boring thing. When I learned that a new restaurant called ZoÃ«â€™s Kitchen had arrived in the reconstructed space that long had held Stanâ€™s Fish Sandwich, for instance, my wandering mind immediately wandered down a narrow space that holds my limited knowledge of Biblical Greek.
â€œZoÃ«,â€ I thought. â€œThatâ€™s Î¶Ï‰Î®, in ancient Greek, meaning â€˜life,â€™ or more specifically spiritual life, as opposed to â€˜Bios,â€™ biological life. What a cool name for a restaurant!â€
Then I found out that itâ€™s just named after ZoÃ« Cassimus, founder of the 12-state chain based in Birmingham, Ala. They do play the Greek card, though, pointing out in the chainâ€™s corporate material that â€œZoÃ« means â€˜lifeâ€™ in Greek. Why not live it to the fullest with tasty food shared among close friends and family?â€
Youâ€™ll find no Italian â€œpieâ€ at ZoÃ«â€™s, though, where the bill of fare is described as â€œMediterranean-inspired comfort food with dietary concerns in mind.â€ Youâ€™ll find nothing fried on the menu, an unusual restriction in this part of the world. Thereâ€™s a selection of gluten-free dishes, a good share of the dishes are marked as vegetarian or vegan, and thereâ€™s a commitment to build dishes from scratch using fresh ingredients.
These are lofty goals for a quick-service restaurant where you line up to order from a counter, take a number and wait a very short time to have your meal hustled out to your table, and to its credit, ZoÃ«â€™s delivers reasonably well. I wonâ€™t claim our recent lunch was the best I ever ate: The soups were way too salty, other dishes a bit under-seasoned â€“ but everything seemed to meet the criteria of fresh, filling and assembled on the spot.
Cups of chicken and orzo soup and tomato bisque topped with molten mozzarella ($2.99) were both tasty except for the salt; a grilled chicken breast stuffed into a warm pita with slaw ($7.39) was a bit bland, although the components were fine. A pimento cheese sandwich ($7.09) benefitted from service on grilled rye bread, but the cheese was very mild, I couldnâ€™t find a pimento, and shredded lettuce and wan tomato didnâ€™t add much. A side of white beans with rosemary was excellent; red-potato salad in a creamy, non-mayo dressing was pretty good after a corrective shot of salt.
Dining Out for Life
Hereâ€™s a deal thatâ€™s hard to pass up! Dine out at any of almost 60 local eateries during the 16th annual Dining Out for Life next Wednesday, Nov. 28, and a percentage of your tab will be donated to Louisvilleâ€™s House of Ruth to support local residents and families living with HIV and AIDS.
To sweeten the deal even more, everyone who dines out at a participating location Nov. 28 will also be registered for grand prizes including round-trip tickets and accommodations at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Florida, and a seven-night stay in a three-bedroom condo in Athens, Greece.
For more information on Dining out for Life and a list of participating restaurants, visit diningoutforlife.com/louisville.