Let's start at the end: Meals at Zupas come with a chocolate-dipped strawberry for dessert.
It keeps with the summery theme of the new restaurant, which is done up in day-glo lime, tangerine and lemon colors, and features light, breezy salads. Then again, the restaurant also offers something for the cold winter months, with hearty, cream-based soups like Wild Mushroom Bisque and New England Clam Chowder.
The new Provo eatery is a fast-food restaurant, though not in the widen-your-thighs and stain-your-white-T-shirt-with-ketchup-and-grease fashion.
The food is prepared to-order at a walkup station and, most times, you can be through the line in five minutes flat.
Your opinion of the restaurant will largely depend on how big a fan of soup or salad you are. The restaurant does have four sandwiches, but they seem to be almost an afterthought to the 10 soups and 12 salads on the menu.
If you can't find a salad you like from among the salad choices, you also can custom order one by choosing from among four different greens, several different meats, a staggering array of dressings and dozens of ingredients that include everything from sweet white corn to cinnamon almonds.
We were too overwhelmed by the choices to make our own salad, so we sampled several different specialty dishes. Our favorite was the Nuts About Berries, a chopped romaine salad mixed with poppyseed dressing and topped with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cinnamon almonds.
In this salad, the lettuce was so crisp it crackled, and the fruit was fresh and ripe. The highlight of the dish, though, was the poppyseed dressing, which added a surprising infusion of sweetness.
The Yucatan Chipotle Chicken salad had all the right ingredients -- avocado, blue tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, olives, roasted chicken, tomatoes -- but the chipotle ranch dressing was underseasoned.
On the other hand, seasoning wasn't a problem with the Buffalo Chicken sandwich, which practically leaked thick, biting, Tabasco-flavored buffalo sauce. And on all of the sandwiches, the dense ciabatta bread seems to overpower the other ingredients.
One area where Zupas shines is its soups. We loved the light Yucatan Chicken Tortilla, which combines chicken, avocado, tomato, tortilla strips and corn in a silky broth. The dish was made even better with the addition of mozzarella cheese at our request.
And there's no topping the Wild Mushroom Bisque, a thick, cream-based soup with chewy shiitake, portobello, oyster and button mushrooms.
At $7 for a large salad and $5 for a large soup, Zupas' prices are higher than many local lunch counters and fast-food restaurants. But if you need a burger break, this eatery offers healthier fare served just as quickly.
That, and tasty chocolate-dipped strawberries.