Eat This Now: Happy Belly's Tapen-Izza

By Jackie Fender on October 20, 2014

Last week, I was professing my habitual devouring of the animal species. This week, I'm doing a 180.

I've been following Happy Belly on Facebook, admiring the beautifully hued fresh juices and delectable looking sandwiches since it opened early October next to the downtown Tacoma YMCA. I finally had the opportunity to visit last week.

Though its menu has a vegetarian focus, with smoothies and juices, the restaurant offers plenty of sammies and wraps - as well as soups and salads - so full on flavor that carnivores won't even miss the meat. Though if you MUST, there are menu items with meaty goodness inside.

This week's Eat This recommendation is Happy Belly's Tapen-Izza ($9). Owner Jennifer Johnson suggested this dish as I stared at the menu options unable to decide. Something so simple (and meat free) should not be so damn delectable, but it was. The Tapen-Izza features a lightly toasted French roll topped with sun dried tomato, olive tapenade and shaved Parmesan. It's like pizza but virtually guilt free and definitely grease free.

Equally delicious was the Red Pepper Kale house soup. Filling and flavorful with gratuitous amounts of veggies such as kale, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini and ginger, this steamy cup of comfort and deliciousness will not disappoint if you sway from the soup du jour. The hearty house soup was so staggeringly good, several of my friends grabbed cups to go after dipping a spoon into my bowl.

I don't think I'll be making the switch from carnivore to herbivore anytime soon but Happy Belly is a delightful change of pace and a must visit for those looking to dine on fresh, in season produce crafted together with thoughtfulness and a clear admiration of food. Additional entrée items will be added in early November. 

HAPPY BELLY, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1122 Market St., Tacoma, 253.365.6706, facebook/happybellytacoma