Cava, a build-your-own Mediterranean bowl counter-service concept, officially opened in the Tuxedo Festival shopping center in Buckhead last Friday. Located in the space formerly home to Zoe’s Kitchen (3655 Roswell Road), it has been gutted and redesigned to reflect the vibe of the fast-casual chain, which acquired Zoe’s Kitchen in 2018. (In fact, the majority of nearby Zoe’s locations will soon become Cavas—more on that below.)
“Zoe’s and Cava share the common origin of Mediterranean food,” says Cava CEO and cofounder Brett Schulman. “Zoe’s has a curated menu rooted in familiar items like kebabs and Greek salad. At Cava, we lean into bold flavors and a menu driven around customization.”
Meals start with a choice of greens or grains (or both), including options like RightRice, which is made from chickpeas and lentils, and Supergreens—raw shaved brussels sprouts, broccoli, chicory, and cabbage. Diners then select up to three dips, like hummus, tzatziki, and jalapeno-feta mousse dubbed “Crazy Feta.” Proteins range from spicy lamb meatballs and harissa honey chicken to lightly packed falafel. Top it off with cabbage slaw, pickled onions, Fresno peppers, and dressing like lemon herb tahini.
“People are seeking more adventurous flavors. Cava allows for deeper exploration into Mediterranean cuisine,” Schulman says. “You can build your meal to your tastes: spicy or mild, plant-based or meat. You get delicious food and still feel good after eating.”
In all, 14 Zoe’s locations in the greater Atlanta area will be transformed into Cava by October. Next up: Perimeter in July. There are, however, four restaurants that will remain Zoe’s for the foreseeable future: Duluth, Snellville, Peachtree City, and Woodstock.
“Zoe’s has a really healthy catering business. We don’t cater at Cava currently,” Schulman explains. “The remaining locations are well-positioned to continue with the catering business.” He adds that Atlanta has been the “most-requested market for Cava in recent years.”
Although Cava doesn’t cater, it does offer a family meal for four to six people. It includes rice or greens, two proteins, dips and spreads, toppings, and dressings. Like the rest of the menu, it can be ordered for dine-in, pickup or delivery; online, via the Cava app, or in-store. The Athens location will even have a drive-thru.