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Eatsa seamlessly brings technology to fast-casual dining

The+Mexican+Bowl+at+Eatsa+makes+for+a+tasty+and+well-priced+lunch.
The Mexican Bowl at Eatsa makes for a tasty and well-priced lunch.

The Mexican Bowl at Eatsa makes for a tasty and well-priced lunch.

photo by Amelia Davidson

photo by Amelia Davidson

The Mexican Bowl at Eatsa makes for a tasty and well-priced lunch.

Amelia Davidson, Reporter

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If you are looking for a restaurant that serves a wide variety of food in a quick and tech- -savvy manner, I highly recommend trying Eatsa in downtown Washington, D.C.

Eatsa is a vegetarian restaurant chain that originated on the West Coast in late 2015. It recently opened a location in the D.C. neighborhood of Farragut North, and is set to open another in early 2017 near the White House. What sets it apart from similar fast-casual restaurants is that Eatsa’s ordering system is fully automated.

Eatsa is unfortunately only open on weekdays, but it is conveniently located steps away from the Farragut North Metro station and closes at 6 p.m., making it easily accessible for an afterschool meal. I recently went to Eatsa to see if the restaurant lived up to the high expectations that good reviews from many major D.C. news sources gave me.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Eatsa was how different it was from any restaurant I had been to before. The decor is very simple, and there are rows of tablets set up for customers to place their orders electronically; no human interaction is necessary. The entire wall opposite the entrance is full of cubbies containing screens where the prepared food appears.

The interface on the tablets is very user friendly and it was incredibly easy to place an order. The menu features a large variety of quinoa and lettuce bowls with Mexican, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean toppings, and also has an option to create your own bowl. Additionally, there are plenty of side and drink choices.

I chose to get a Mexican quinoa bowl ($6.95), which included guacamole, salsa, beans and chips, and my brother opted to make his own bowl (prices vary, starting at $6.95). We also got pita chips and hummus on the side. The second we placed our order, my name appeared on a large screen in the front of the store above the rows of cubbies.

Less than two minutes later, one of the glass cubbies turned black and then began to display my name. The glass screen on the cubby prompted me to tap the glass twice, and when I did, the cubby slowly opened to reveal my food.

My brother and I were extremely satisfied with our dishes, which despite somehow being prepared in two minutes were warm and tasted extremely fresh. The indoor seating was a bit sparse, but this didn’t seem to be a problem as most customers got their food to-go. I would definitely suggest getting the hummus along with a main meal, because it is some of the best I have had in the D.C. area.

Since it is still unclear whether the no-waitstaff trend is going to expand to other restaurants, I strongly recommend taking advantage of the unique opportunity to eat great food in a completely automated restaurant. An additional perk is that Eatsa prides itself on being very environmentally friendly, and all food and utensils are either compostable or recyclable. Despite the location being somewhat far from school and the fact that it is only open on weekdays, Eatsa definitely lives up to its hype and I know that I will be going back there as soon as possible.

Eatsa is located at 1627 K Street NW in Washington, D.C. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon – Fri.

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