Health-conscious fast food
It’s quick. It’s inexpensive.
And for once, it’s healthy.
Evo’s, which is derived from “evolution,” began six years ago as a small South Tampa sandwich shop specializing in healthy foods. According to co-partner Dino Lambridis, the main goal was to serve “what America eats” with a wholesome flair.
But healthy fast food is not an oxymoron at Evo’s.
Not surprisingly, though, the small sandwich shop did well, especially after introducing what they call “air fries” to the customers, an alternative to French fries. Lambridis said people who had given up eating greasy fast food French fries were lining up around the block to try Evo’s recipe. When the shop, a “box” as Lambridis put it, became too small for the demands of the customers, they moved to a larger spot closer to Bayshore Boulevard.
The South Tampa eatery has fast become a favorite among professional downtowners, and the company opened the location at 19410 N. Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in New Tampa at the end of June.
For the New Tampa location, a grand opening is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The event features games and kids’ activities, plus a special appearance from the Star 95.7 radio crew.
“I know I sound like a commercial,” said junior Sarah Fox on her second visit to the eatery. “I really don’t feel like I’m eating health food. For once, I’m not feeling guilty for eating fries.”Adam Carb, head manager to the new location, can attest to the power of the company’s healthy attraction.
“I was on vacation down here and ate at Evo’s,” he said. “I loved the concept of it, so I decided to change my career and joined the company.”
Saying he wanted to “help the business grow,” Carb left his previous job, moved to the area and took on the position of head manager.
The company expects the new location to attract more families and college students as opposed to the business clientele of the South Tampa location.
“It’s more of a neighborhood setting,” said Lambridis. But their claim to fame is healthy fast food.
“It’s fast food that’s good for you and tastes great,” said Lambridis. “There’s a misconception that healthy food has to taste bad.”
And the “air fries”? They’re potatoes that are literally air-fried like popcorn instead of being dipped in oil. The result is about 5 grams of fat in the average serving – a leap from the 22 grams of fat gorged at McDonald’s.
They also have a ketchup bar that brings new meaning to the term Heinz 57. Ketchup Karma, a selection of flavored ketchups with all-natural ingredients, has been a hit with the company.
There are four flavors to choose from, a spicy Cayenne Firewalker, Ocean Surfaced Garlic, Indian Coriander and, of course, the American Original Favorite.
“After all,” the motto reads, “your naturally flavored fries have a conscience, so why shouldn’t your ketchup?”
The menu is full of healthy alternatives to the typical fast food carte du jour. The “no-moo” soy-based Evoburger offers a natural twist on the all-American beefy favorite, and “The Original” fruit shake beats the normal 8 grams of fat found in a strawberry milkshake at Burger King.
The front of the menu invites an adventuring guest to take a food ride back to the middle of the century, where they will “witness the redesign of the fast food concept.” A satisfaction guarantee is listed on the inside for anything that doesn’t meet expectations.”It actually exceeded mine,” Fox said with a smile.
The company has run into the problem of dealing with customers who believe that “healthy” means “no meat.” While they do strive to meet as many vegan (no dairy, no eggs) restrictions as they can, they aren’t a strictly vegetarian eatery.
“We get calls from (vegetarians) saying that they really appreciate the fact that we’re trying to stick with products that they eat,” said Lambridis. “But we aren’t entirely vegetarian.”
Indeed, one of the items on the menu boasts a “Big Bird” turkey sandwich that is “so good you’ll ‘gobble’ it down.”
The company expects things to only get better from here. They have plans to sign the lease for a new location in St. Petersburg and are looking into finding a spot somewhere in Carrollwood as well.