Setting the Table
Kindbelly, the newest eatery to set up shop in the St. James Square community in Myrtle Beach, offers a California take on fresh, fast food to go. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of a live/work townhouse at the development, which is like a mini-Market Common.
A project of two fourth generation Horry County 20-something siblings and their father, Kindbelly is a version of the small health-oriented shops that dominate the West Coast. Albert Singleton and his sister Hannah Singleton both returned to Myrtle Beach after spending several years in the California sunshine, and all that goes with a stereotypical California lifestyle; film school, surfing, etc. “My kids had been on me about opening a restaurant like this,” said their dad, Earl Singleton, “and as I’ve gotten older I’ve kind of moved toward that clean living thing, and here we are. This is where the restaurant business is headed. More and more young people are interested in this kind of diet.”
With room for a counter (yet to be installed) and an additional table inside, Kindbelly, which opened three weeks ago, is focused on take-out. One indoor two-top, and a few sidewalk tables do allow patrons to stay put, but the focus is on getting customers’ orders together quickly and seeing them on their way. Visitors will notice the similarities between Kindbelly’s St. James Square neighborhood and the Market Common live/work townhouses, as both shared the same designer/builder.
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So with restaurant ambiance not a major player in the Kindbelly business model, the focus is on healthy, very healthy, extremely healthy food.
Down the Hatch
A few breakfast items are listed on the wall menu; the Acai Bowl ($7.50) comes with acai blend, house-made granola, sliced banana, and honey. A Fresh Fruit Bowl ($5) is made with seasonal options. The Half Grapefruit ($2.25) is served with honey or agave.
Most of the menu highlights smoothies, wraps and salads, more typical of lunchtime fare.
Four smoothie options (small $5.75 or large $7.50) come in a creative variety and include ridiculously healthy, optional components such as fresh fruit, chia seeds, bee pollen, almond milk, micro greens, protein powders, maca (a Peruvian root vegetable and reported aphrodisiac), and Greek yogurt, to name but a few.
Three wraps ($6) include the Caesar in a Basket, the Good Goddess, and the Buffalo Soldier. Chicken may be added to any wrap for an additional $2.50. All the wraps come with something Kindbelly calls “Super Chop,” which is made up from finally chopped broccoli, cabbage, carrots and Brussels sprouts marinated in a choice of dressings.
I opted for the Naked Goddess ($6, pictured), which is one of five salads, and large enough to share. The indulgent richness of avocado and tomato offered a nice counterpoint to the crunch of kale, romaine, cucumber, onion, carrots, and chickpeas, providing a palate-pleasing, and nutritious lunch option.
Side options include tortilla, pita or veggie chips, and dips, which include hummus, black bean hummus, corn and/or fruit salsa ($2.50 - $5). Fruit cups are available, small or large ($2.50 - $5).
A small kids’ menu includes a PBB&H ($5, a peanut butter, sliced banana and honey sandwich served on whole grain bread), kid-friendly smoothies ($5.75), and fruit.
Even the drinks are health-minded at Kindbelly; Coffee, tea, Sambazon Energy Drinks, apple juice, coconut and cucumber water, apple juice and bottled water. Don’t ask for a Coke or Mountain Dew; you won’t find soft drinks here.
Anyone who has priced fruit lately knows that it’s not cheap, so there shouldn’t be too much sticker shock at Kindbelly’s pricing on its fruit-related menu items. A $6 salad (or wrap) with a $2.50 optional addition of grilled chicken is also reasonable, especially as compared to a fast food lunch for about the same cost. The real savings at Kindbelly is to your heart, your self-respect and your belly.