Aha! Snap Kitchen Is the Healthy Eater’s Wawa
As we’ve told you guys, Snap Kitchen is coming to Philly in a BIG way: The Austin, Texas-based company is opening its first East Coast outposts, at 243 Market Street and 1901 Callowhill Street, this weekend, and they have plans to open five more locations in the Philly area before the year ends.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we are over the moon about more quick and easy healthy food choices coming to Philly. But, to be honest, I didn’t totally know what to expect from the market until last night, when I got to to hang out at their soon-to-open Old City shop and soak it all in. My takeaway: Snap Kitchen is basically the healthy person’s Wawa. And don’t get it twisted: I mean that as a compliment.
When you walk into the Old City shop, you’re pointed to the left wall which is lined with refrigerated shelves loaded with cold-pressed juices, drinks like “Almonccinos” — cold-brew coffee mixed with almond milk made in their Kensington kitchen — and Matcha Mint Iced Tea, along with tons of prepackaged prepared foods helpfully labeled as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and even Paleo. There are two microwaves in the back left corner, there for you to reheat said prepackaged dishes, plus grab-and-go snacks like kale chips, Epic jerky, and gluten-free brownies lining the back wall. The cash register, your last stop, is on the right side of the store. The idea is that you can easily make your way around the store, getting everything you need for a healthy, balanced (all of their foods and drinks are approved by their in-house dietician), tasty meal in about three minutes — or “in a snap,” as they like to say.
When I first moved to Philly, I lived right by the Wawa at 17th and Arch, and I remember trying my darndest to embrace the convenience market. But in the end, as much as I wanted to join the flock of Wawa lovers, I eventually had to admit to myself: The store just isn’t made for me. They don’t offer a single vegetarian Sizzli, and, being that it started as a dairy and all, non-dairy milk isn’t really their thing. And don’t get me wrong, this is not to knock the Wawa lovers of the world. We all know you guys are unfailingly loyal, and I’m sure you have good reason. My point is just that, if your priority when it comes to food is health, Wawa may have a few items for you to pick from (we found some of the store’s best healthy picks here), but they are not designing their stores around you — Snap Kitchen is.
Like Wawa, Snap Kitchen is a small market where you you can expect the same grub whether you walk into the Malvern location or the Old City location. Unlike Wawa, nothing is made in the actual store; All of the dishes you’ll find in Philly, designed by executive chef Matthew Reinhart and their dietician, are made at their Kensington kitchen and delivered to each Snap location daily. They have a wide range of prepackaged foods to choose from that cover all bases: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert. And while they aren’t a local chain, they’re all about quality ingredients — cage-free eggs, organic salmon — and sourcing locally when they can. To wit: They tell us they’re looking to get a local kombucha on the shelves of their Philly stores soon.
So in short, Snap Kitchen is a convenience market, á la Wawa, for people who want gluten-free (or vegan, or Paleo) food with the calorie count splashed across the package in print that you don’t have to squint to see. A convenience food market for people who really, really want to know what they’re eating.
Seating in the stores is minimal, with a few chairs looking out on to the street. But again, they’re not trying to be the kind of place where you hunker down and hang out on your laptop while shoveling gluten-free Almond Butter and Maple Pancakes into your mouth. The idea is you run in, grab your food, and get out — like any other grab-and-go market.
So let’s get to the most important question: Does this healthy, prepackaged, calorie-consious food actually taste good after it’s been reheated in the microwave, per the instructions? The answer — and trust me, I’m a bit surprised too — is yes. I just ate Snap Kitchen’s small Quinoa Fried Rice ($7.49) for lunch — a dish with 250 calories and 11 grams of protein — and one of my coworkers nearly salivated all over his desk thanks to the ginger-y, teriyaki-like smell while I scraped every last bit from the BPA-free plastic container. Their Devily Eggs ($3.99 for four), hard boiled egg whites filled with their house-made jalapeño hummus instead of egg yolks, are weirdly delicious and quite filling. And their juices, on par with most cold-pressed juices in terms of price, at $6.99 to $8.99, are the bomb. At an in-store taste test, the Far East Turmeric Elixir and the Spicy Basil Lemonade were my favorites, but I actually liked all of them — and that’s saying a lot when it comes to juice. (Check out the Devily Eggs below.)
A photo posted by Philly ChitChat (@phillychitchat) on
So, to anyone else out there who was confused about what to expect from Snap Kitchen — after all, we really don’t have anything else like it here — I hope this cleared some things up. You can soak it all in for yourself at the sneak peek at their Old City store tomorrow evening, or stop into their location on Callowhill Street come Saturday. Their Rittenhouse, Malvern, Midtown Village, Villanova and Cherry Hill locations should be open by the end of the year, some sooner than others.
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