First Bite is mostly local, mostly vegetarian and definitely delicious

. January 1, 2018.

Walking into First Bite in downtown Ann Arbor, we were immediately drawn into the artfully designed, serene dining room. The room is decorated with a collection of beautiful farm photographs, a working Polaroid station, and a living wall of hanging plants. First Bite’s full-size white board was also a huge hit (and a huge help), entertaining the kids while we waited the 10 minutes from counter order to table delivery.

Green and delicious

Owner Vivek Dalela provided free samples of First Bite’s signature Green Fuel smoothie within minutes of our arrival, which also helped the time pass quickly. Our family slurped down this delicious drink of kale, chard, spinach, pineapple, rice milk and dates. We ordered another for our main meal and got the special parenting joy that comes with watching your child unknowingly devour something that is immensely good for them. The Green Fuel Smoothie, accompanied by its Mango Probiotic counterpart, were both highlights of the meal.


Clean eating, wholesome variety

We started with the homemade tomato basil soup and could immediately taste the freshness. Our 2-year-old loved it enough that no spoonful was too big for her mouth or, unfortunately, for her dress!

The black bean burger and the beanie bowl were a tad spicy for the kids, but the beanie bowl (deliciously smoky black beans, homemade corn salsa, fresh guacamole, and cilantro-lime rice) had the adults craving more. As non-vegetarians, our kids are newcomers to less traditional burger patties, however, the chickpea-beet burger ended up as the family favorite with an endorsement from our 4-year-old (a self-proclaimed burger connoisseur). We found out later it is already a customer favorite and we now also highly recommend this sweet and savory sandwich.

We also tried the Thai peanut wrap, which although tasty, didn’t pack enough Thai flavors for us. Burgers and wraps came with a choice of sides; our kids preferred the chips and pickles to the potato wedges, which were seasoned with too much rosemary for their taste. First Bite also offers a small selection of sweets: ice creams (chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla), coffee cake, and a cookie of the day.

All told, we found First Bite to be a unique place where adults will enjoy the menu’s variety and kids can learn about and experiment with food. Even if your kids won’t eat a whole chickpea-beet burger, parents can feel at ease knowing that their little ones can easily fill up on healthy smoothies, soup, fresh pickles and sides. While some of the entrees were on the spicier or more adventurous side, we were delighted to discover they are currently working on a menu for kids. Bonus tip: if you visit soon, Dalela is likely to solicit your advice on what items to include!


Food philosophy

One of Dalela’s primary goals is for this restaurant, his first, to exude a sense of warmth and community, and we can attest that our family felt immediately welcomed. This mostly organic, mostly vegetarian, and mostly locally-sourced spot is Dalela’s first foray into the restaurant business and he is laser focused on building community around his vision of Food 4.0: Positive Food. Positive Life.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Yes
To avoid wait: Go anytime as they are still building a following Noise level: Low
Bathroom amenities: Kids loved the hand-painted bathroom murals; changing table available
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Cow, soy, coconut and almond milks available
Kids’ menu? Coming soon
Anything healthy for kids? Almost everything and it’s all made from scratch!
Food allergy concerns? Very allergy-friendly; separate cook surfaces available

First Bite
108 S. Main St.
Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-8pm
Sunday-Monday: Closed