Battle of the Personalized Food Chains

Everyone loves to feel special. And having a personalized meal is one, easy way of achieving that, especially when you get to eat it too. Although service line restaurants are a part of culinary history, restaurants like Subway and Chipotle have turned it into a mainstream way of dining.

But which service line restaurant is the ultimate personalized food chain? I have critiqued the popular ones on and off campus of the FAU Boca Raton campus. Here is my opinion, but who has your vote?

On Campus

Subway (by the stadium) 

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

Though not as popular as Chipotle, Subway was the beginning of personalized quick meals. Opening their doors in 1965, Subway allowed people to make their own sandwich with just a point of a finger.

Adding options such as flatbreads and pizza, Subway has tried to make themselves more friendly to non-sandwich loving people.

Even though they advertise that they have five dollar foot longs, I usually end up paying eight dollars for a foot long not including a drink. But I will stay full for the rest of the day which is needed, especially for the walk to get there.

Building up an appetite walking all the way to the stadium you might just decide to try everything on the menu, or wait until Night Owl begins to get a ride there.

Jow Jing (in the food court) 

Photo by Mohammed F Emran
Photo by Mohammed F Emran

You may get to choose what you want to eat, but don’t expect five-star dining. The convenience of their location in the FAU Breezeway food court is great, but I tend to never get full and end up spending more money later in the day.

The only meat that has any taste worth talking about is the firecracker chicken which tastes pretty good – even though it is worth questioning if they get their meat from the raccoons scampering around campus.

Overall, even if I see it in passing and I am really hungry, I would wait by to find something else.

Off Campus

Chipotle (map)

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

Burrito or bowl, for $6.25 your stomach will be filled enough to induce a food coma and keep your Mexican taste buds happy. And now that they’ve taken a step in a healthier direction by going GMO free, the number of competitors are dwindling.

But, if you don’t enjoy Mexican food you probably won’t even step foot into one even with peer pressure because they just don’t have anything for the gringos out there. Personally, I am not a fan of beans and rice so I don’t get as full as the Chipotle obsessed people.

And even though you can pick what you want to eat, what everyone really wants is an extra $1.80. *Cough guacamole cough*

Italios (CLOSED)

If you love pasta then Italios is like a $7.96 mini heaven with an abundance of sauces for your  choosing. Depending on your mood, you can go as crazy or as calm as you’d like, mixing sauces and toppings that could satisfy any insane craving.

They even have a healthier option of whole grain pasta and salads with the same variety of toppings. Or, you can opt for a smaller size if you’re not that hungry. To counteract that they offer cannoli chips as a dessert and some alcoholic options.

However, they tend to be inconsistent at times and some of their food just doesn’t hold up to the classic pasta bowl. Which may be expected since they only have two locations and are not a franchise. But I never leave hungry and I usually end up with leftovers. I just have to cross my fingers that I’m not sharing my meal with any little critters.

Blaze Pizza (map)

Photo by Alexis Paige
Photo by Alexis Paige

It’s safe to assume that everyone loves pizza. And for $7.95 you can add as many toppings as you’d like to your cheesy 8-inch lover. Or, if you prefer vegan cheese or gluten free bread, they have those options for an extra cost – $2 and $3 respectively.

If you just want a classic you can order a plain cheese pizza for less than a personalized one. And if you can’t decide or want to try something different they have a menu of signature pizzas.

Having your own pizza made in 180 seconds is pretty neat, but Blaze tends to have a similar view as Chipotle: a long line. It tends to move quickly though, so don’t let it scare you away.

One downfall though is that they only have one size. So, if you usually eat more or less than the average person you may still be hungry or have leftovers. For me, it just depends on my mood but if I pile on the toppings my stomach will be leaving happy.

After eating

I hate to say it, but it really just depends on your taste of food. If you love Mexican, but hate pizza, Chipotle is the way to go – vise versa with Blaze. But if time is sensitive or you have no means of transportation, Subway is the best option to keep your stomach and wallet full.

For staying full all day my vote is Subway, but for the satisfaction of every taste bud Blaze has found it’s way to my heart: through my stomach.