Would you like a side of broccoli with that?
Muscle Maker Grill (MMG), now open in West Caldwell, challenges the belief that fast food can’t be healthy.
In a refreshing departure from high-carb, high-fat and deep-fried menu offerings, the rapidly growing franchise attracts health-conscious eaters with options that include grilled chicken, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and zero fat sour cream—there's no deep fryer on the premises.
To help guide diners, the menu lists calorie counts next to each item and full nutritional information is also available.
Salad options include the Italiano with reduced fat mozzarella, fresh spinach, red roasted peppers, romaine topped with a gluten- and fat-free balsamic vinaigrette (337 calories) and the Lean & Mean Cheeseburger Salad (584 calories), which gives new meaning to thinking outside the bun.
Appetizers, cleverly called "Warm-Ups," include three types of chicken nuggets (229-284 calories), a loaded baked potato with broccoli and reduced-fat cheddar cheese (209 calories), edamame (120 calories) and a cup or bowl of the daily soup special (120 or 240 calories).
The bulk of the menu consists of wraps, signature sandwiches and "power pastas." There are also protein shakes and fruit smoothies, as well as catering packages.
We stopped in for lunch recently at the new location in the strip mall with and on Bloomfield Avenue. Although there's ample seating, we decided to get our order to-go since it was a nice day.
Our choices were the MMG Signature Wrap with chicken, turkey bacon, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, romaine, tomatoes and onions with zero-carb signature sauce in a jalapeno wrap (550 calories) with a side of cucumber salad and the Yee-Ha Wrap with chicken, turkey bacon, western potatoes and the same signature sauce (545 calories) with a side of Caesar salad.
Both were prepared on the spot and ready in just a couple of minutes. The signature sauce had a nice kick to it and pulled together the different ingredients. The chunks of potato in the Yee-Ha were particularly good.
On a second visit, we stopped in for an afternoon snack, a Chocolate Peanut Butter protein shake (390 calories). The $6 price tag seemed steep. But the shake was irresistibly smooth and rich with authentic chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Plus, the 32 oz. serving offered plenty for two people, cutting the calorie-count in half.
It’s easy to see why the Muscle Maker Grill concept is catching on. This week, MMG announced it has reached 50 locations in five states and is growing … fast.
Muscle Maker Grill
792 Bloomfield Ave.
Open Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Closed Sunday