With their third store opening on February 1 in Perrysburg, HoChang “CJ” Jang and Prakash “PK” Karamchandani, owners of Balance Grille, have a lot to keep in equilibrium; a balancing act that the University of Toledo alumni have been doing since opening their first Grille in February 2010.
Accompanying the new Grille location is their latest venture— Bubble Tea location on the University of Toledo campus. With the new year, Balance has rolled out a new menu, determined by employee and customer tastings, comprised of old favorites and new surprises.
Taco ‘bout it
For Balance foodies, 2016’s menu, which launched January 1, offers unique Pan-Asian tacos, a fusion, blending diverse Asian flavors with a taco format.
In fall of 2015, the popular tacos on the menu were traded for buns, forcing taco-fiends to wait four months for their perfectly-seasoned treasures to be offered again. Now, six taco varieties are back until September, all topped with Balance’s well-loved sauces. Korean BBQ, Red Curry, Pad Thai and more are also available, representing Balance’s creative, hand-to-mouth takes on classic dishes.
Side of spice
“We call our menu lifestyle food,” said PK. “It’s for in between days, when you aren’t out celebrating and still want food on the go. We wanted to build a really modern fast food restaurant that wasn’t so unbalanced. Fast food typically relies on industrial farming, which is not sustainable. We’re not going to change fast food, because customers want it, but there’s other ways to do it.”
While PK admits, “There’s always a spot for mac n’ cheese, but not every day,” Balance provides healthy, affordable options, like sides and salads.
“The kale salad is a new favorite of mine,” said PK, about the crunchy and nutty, $3 salad with kale, zucchini, quinoa, almonds, dried cranberries and a tangy feta cheese dressing. “I like to add a drizzle of sriracha,” said PK, and that customization is offered as an option for those who want more spice.
Other inventive food offerings include eastern slaw, a delicious tofu and shiitake mushroom salad, edamame, citrus brussels, and even fried wontons. Of course, Balance’s bowls will still be available. The signature meals with homemade sauce, and a set 4:4:6 ratio of protein, fresh veggies and starch, have kept customers satisfied since the first Balance Grille opened its doors.
Since opening, PK and CJ have been motivated by a balance of flavors and environment.. “Balance affects a lot of different things: it has to do with our value of flavor, texture, color, weight ratio of veggies to protein, and how we interface with our environment,” said PK.
Each store preps all items every morning and nothing is held over night. New employees are educated in water conservation. All food packaging, except for sauces and cups for bubble tea, are compostable.
“The next step is eco-packaging for bubble tea and for sauce cups,” said PK. Balance has been working with a few companies to find eco-packaging that works well with heavy liquids. “We’ve tried recyclable, PLA, and others… This is just one of those things where we have to wait for the technology to catch up for these uses.”
Balance Grille, maintaining an even handed approach to food, service and the environment.
5860 W. Central Ave., Sylvania | 419-578-7777
514 The Boulevard, Maumee | 419-893-9999
26520 N. Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg | Opening February 1
11am-9pm, daily | balancegrille.com