Tropical Smoothie Cafe
2105 Union Avenue
On a recent play date, Satchel (age 9) went to Tropical Smoothie Cafe with some friends. He really liked it and started craving it. It was annoying to Warren because he makes a smoothie every morning, offers it to the kids, and they usually both say no. (He has been known to throw in some weird stuff.) Satchel drank a strawberry and banana smoothie almost everyday of his life from age 2-5, though.
After making his signature "I must have it now" slurping noise, we finally gave in and went to see what the fuss was about.
When we went inside, I had a nice giggle about the tropical decor. They really want you to feel like you are on an island instead of Union Avenue. Satchel knew exactly what he wanted--a kid's meal with an American cheese and ham wrap, chips, and a Jetty Junior smoothie (strawberries and banana).
Instead of chips, he could have subbed fruit or a cookie. Also on the kid's menu is a flatbread sandwich (turkey, ham or grilled cheese), a cheese quesadilla, and cheese pizza. Not bad for $4.99. (You can skip the smoothie and get a soft drink for $3.99.) Jiro (age 7) opted for a cheese pizza, Sun chips, and a Chocolate Chimp smoothie (banana & chocolate). They also have a Banana Mania smoothie option (banana and non-fat yogurt) and Awesome Orange (orange, white chocolate and non-fat yogurt).
The menu at TSC is fairly extensive featuring soups, salads, sandwiches, and all day breakfast in addition to the smoothies (and coffee smoothies!). I was definitely overwhelmed by the choices. I wish I had come more prepared. I did a quick glance trying to find something healthy, but once Warren decided what he wanted--a Jamaican Jerk chicken wrap--I panicked. I blurted out that I wanted a Baja chicken flatbread.
Now that I've had time to peruse the menu I brought home with me, I would totally order differently next time. They have a pretty sweet Island combo which gives you a choice of any two of the following for $6.99: smoothie, half bistro sandwich, half gourmet salad, or cup of soup. The Paradise combo for $9.99 features a smoothie, chips or fruit, and your choice of a wrap, bistro sandwich, or salad.
Anyways, what we ordered was pretty tasty, and only $22 for the four of us. Satchel ate every bite of his food and every drop of his smoothie.
I liked that his sandwich came plain without having to ask.
Jiro's cheese pizza was nothing special, but he ate most of it along with his chips. He was too full for his smoothie despite it being chocolatey.
Warren's Jamaican jerk chicken wrap was actually quite good. He gave me a bite and half of his bag of chips, which was sweet. (The flatbreads come with chips, bistro sandwiches do not.)
My bistro sandwich tasted good, but it was a little heavy on the cheese and sauce.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the Tropical Smoothie Cafe. I was also surprised to learn that there are five stores in Memphis. I will definitely keep it in mind for when the kids are starving and we don't have a lot of time. Since they open at 7am, I think it would also be a good alternative to morning donuts, which the monkeys are a tad addicted to.
I'm not a huge fan of chains, but this seems like a pretty good one. I'm assuming a local person owns the franchise, but I don't know for sure.
They used mostly paper products for food, but the smoothies do come in styrofoam.
None of us made it to the bathroom to do a changing table inspection.