Try Midwestern Fast-Casual Chain Noodles & Company + Photos
- I first visited Noodles & Company, a fast food chain based in Colorado.
- I enjoyed the wide range of dishes on the menu, from pasta dishes and zoodles to soups and salads.
- The Japanese noodles were delicious and I plan to go back to try some more dishes soon.
Noodles & Company is known for serving internationally and American-inspired noodle dishes, pastas, salads and soups.
Although the chain started out as a Colorado-based restaurant, there are now 452 locations in 30 different states. California alone has 15 slots.
Here are some of my first thoughts after visiting Noodles & Co. for the first time:
There are seemingly endless combinations of noodles, spices and proteins
Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed the number of choices on the menu. I was pleasantly surprised by the range of what seemed like healthy options, such as vegetable noodles.
The chain also offers vegetarian and low-calorie dishes. You can even customize your dish by replacing regular pasta with zoodles or cauliflower noodles or adding protein like chicken or steak.
I consider myself a health conscious diner so I appreciated the wide range of options.
The restaurant had a clean, industrial design and feel
The layout and design of the restaurant was efficient, and the decor reminded me of a clean, industrial Chipotle-esque feel.
I wanted to try something from each section of the menu – including mac and cheese, signature and classic – but didn’t know where to start.
I asked the clerk working at the registry for her recommendations and what people seemed to like.
Based on his advice, I ordered the penne rosa, buffalo macaroni and cheese, breaded Japanese noodles, and a simple order of zoodles, to try their texture and flavor.
My order came to $25 for four small dishes, or about $8 each. I feel like I got a decent amount of food for that price as I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting.
There was plenty of space to eat inside and outside. After about 10 minutes of waiting, I got my food and sat on the terrace.
Each dish was tasty and well proportioned
The penne rosa were bursting with flavor, with whole bites and chunks of tomato. The dish wasn’t as creamy as expected, but I liked that it had feta cheese sprinkled on top.
The spicy buffalo mac had a more supple texture than creamy, but I liked that there was some extra cheese sprinkled on this dish as well.
If I had taken it and eaten it at home, I would have microwaved it to melt the cheese on it. Still, it was good and I didn’t think it was too spicy.
The Japanese pan noodles had a nice flavor in the broad but balanced mix of flavors.
The texture of these noodles was my favorite of the four dishes, as they were thick, long and chewy.
Finally, I tried the zucchini noodles, which I ordered plain to test the flavor and texture without the distraction of spices and sauces.
However, if I wanted to add an extra kick to my plain zoodles, there were also jars of Boulder’s Smolder spice mix inside the restaurant.
The zoodles were thick cut, and I think they could have been a great alternative in dishes like Japanese noodles if I was gluten sensitive or trying to make a health conscious substitution that still tasted good taste.
I plan to go back to try more noodle combinations
In addition to traditional noodle dishes, the chain serves soups, salads, and a generous kids’ menu with a selection of classics like Wisconsin mac and cheese, spaghetti, and meatballs.
There are also family meal options, which can feed up to four people and include servings of more than one type of pasta.
Overall, Noodles & Co. felt like a place you could dine with family and friends or go for a quick, casual meal, with something for everyone on the menu.
There seems to be an endless number of noodle dishes to try, so I’ll be going back.
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