Eatsa offers healthy lunches, automated ordering process

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Hatchet Photographer

Eatsa, a new lunch spot near Foggy Bottom, serves up quinoa bowls and salads through a completely automated process.

If you love the fast service and healthy food from Beefsteak and Sweetgreen but want an even more efficient ordering system, Eatsa may be your new lunch spot.

The restaurant, which opened at 1627 K St. late last month, serves healthy bowls and salads with an efficient, automated process: No more shouting over the din of the kitchen to make sure your order is heard.

The ordering process at Eatsa is based around technology, with no human interaction involved. Patrons slide a credit or debit card at a standing tablet kiosk. The screen addresses the lunch-goer by the name on his or her credit card as the order is completed.

Though the ordering process is fully automated, there are a few employees at each Eatsa. One or two workers greet customers as they walk in and assist if anyone has trouble ordering from the kiosks.

Customers scroll through photos of bowls and salads to pick their order or create a custom bowl. The bowls start with either cold or hot quinoa as the base, and customers pack on toppings to add flavor. Some bowls include roasted potato and squash, others boast fried mushrooms and edamame. Eatsa also offers mixed greens and kale salads as well as sides of pita chips and hummus.

I chose the Burrito Bowl ($6.95) and a house-made guava soda ($.95). For just under $8 for a bowl and a drink, this lunch came at a price not easily found in the District.

After ordering from the kiosk, I waited toward the back of the restaurant for my food. After less than a minute – it was really just about 60 seconds – my food appeared in one of 25 small cubbies that line the back wall and my name appeared on a screen. I opened up the cubby, grabbed my food, took a fork from an automatic-fork-dispenser and dug in.

I’m not usually a fan of quinoa, but I still loved the dish. My bowl had guacamole, salsa, queso, portabello mushrooms, grilled corn, warm quinoa, tortilla chips and pinto beans. It had some spice to it, which was a great touch. The roasted corn went well with the well-blended guacamole and quinoa. Every bite was satisfying and packed with freshness. I was impressed with Eatsa’s ability to combine multiple flavorful ingredients into one cohesive dish.

Overall, the food at Eatsa was excellent, the atmosphere was relaxed and the employees smiled as they walked customers through the unique ordering process. This chain could find serious success among the fit-foodies of D.C.

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