On a stop to our cellphone carrier’s store in South Portland, my 17-year-old daughter and I spotted Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Kale and fruit smoothies, as well as protein shakes, are regular breakfast and lunch options for me and my teens. We can easily make an inexpensive smoothie at home packed with good nutrition, but lately we’ve been bored with our recipes. This smoothie bar piqued our curiosity about fruit and vegetable combinations.
My 17-year-old daughter likes thick shakes – so much so that she once blew our blender’s motor – so she was pleased with the blends at Tropical Smoothies. They are thick but can still be consumed with a straw.
She went with the Acai Berry Boost ($5.49) on the “Supercharged” menu because acai is not a typical ingredient at home.
In addition to acai, this smoothie includes pineapple, banana, blueberry and strawberry. I don’t care for bananas, but the flavor in this smoothie was heavy on the berry and light on the banana and I liked it. My daughter gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
I chose the Detox Island Greens smoothie ($5.49). I was told by the friendly cashier that this option had a strong ginger flavor. Along with ginger, there is spinach, kale, pineapple, mango and bananas. My request to hold the banana was met with a friendly nod and a “no problem.” Bananas offer a thicker smoothie consistency and although I didn’t order an add-on item (avocado is a good substitute for bananas), it was tasty without it. And the ginger offered a nice kick without being overpowering.
Most smoothies come in a generous 24-ounce cup (there are a few smaller options), and they’re a good value for $5.49 because not much water (other than ice) is added as filler.
Another day I ordered a King Caesar Chicken Wrap ($7.49) and a Totally Green smoothie (cucumber, green apple, kale, spinach, celery and kiwi) and received a combo discount for $10.49. The garlic herb wrap was a satisfying size stuffed with warm chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, a nice Caesar sauce and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese. The wrap was simple and delicious and included a side dish. I opted for an orange, which was a large one cut into quarters. House-made fruit “medley,” kale and apple slaw or chips were also options. The combo was too filling for me; I ate half the wrap, drank half the smoothie and took the rest home.
The menu includes several other wraps, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and tacos. The Rustic Turkey and Apple Club made with turkey, cheddar, gorgonzola, bacon Dijon mustard and house-made kale and apple slaw on “thinly sliced seedilicious bread” sounded especially good. They even have a couple of breakfast wraps.
My daughters and I have made several smoothie stops since our initial visit and we all loved the Bahama Mama smoothie on the “Indulgent” menu. The strawberry, pineapple, white chocolate and coconut concoction was a cup of sweet creamy goodness. I prefer to get more nutrition out of a smoothie, but this was an excellent dessert-style treat. So is the Mocha Madness with chocolate, coffee (available in decaf), cappuccino and non-fat yogurt.
Most smoothies are $5.49 with add-ons including protein powders, supplements and vitamin boosts for 99 cents.
This is a franchise operation but there are only two locations in Maine, both in South Portland. I visited the Broadway location.
The seating area is clean and inviting with counter-style seating and bistro stools as well as regular tables. The service is quick and when you’re eating in, food is delivered to the table.
The one downside is the noise of the blenders. When the place is busy, the blenders are loud and make asking (and getting) answers to questions at the counter a bit of a challenge. But if you’re busy and looking for a smoothie packed with nutrition, or a simple wrap or sandwich, for lunch this is a good place to get both. And to make it a quick stop, they even have a drive-through.
740 Broadway, South Portland | 207-808-8122 | tropicalsmoothiecafe.com
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
WAIT: About 5-10 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes
NOTE: There is a drive-through