Move over, Chipotle: there’s a new kid in town. Spice Runner, a global fusion concept developed by father and son duo Julius and Barry Fourie, offers a wide range of flavorful yet health-conscious options that stand out in the fast-casual sphere.
Barry Fourie, Co-Owner of Spice Runner
Spice Runner’s roots trace back to the development of a line of sauces inspired by the flavors Julius grew up cooking in South Africa, and the name Spice Runner was inspired by the global influence that threads itself throughout the menu. After selling the sauces through various channels—including a food truck—for several years, the duo finally opened their first storefront earlier this year in a strip right off of I-10 and are currently contemplating their next location (their sauces are still for sale at the restaurant).
The eight sauces on offer—which serve as the base of each rice or noodle bowl—span Indian and South African curries to a Louisiana Creole sauce, a slightly spicy and shrimp-infused Thai sauce, a Texas Chili, and a creamy Italian sauce among others. The rice and noodle bowls are the most customizable items on the menu and perfect for a filling but quick meal, but you can also find a number of sandwiches, salads, soups and even South African-inspired meat pies.
Once you start with a sauce base, you build your bowl with your choice of starch (noodles, white or brown rice, or vegetable noodles), protein and vegetables for a satisfying entrée. A condiment bar is also available for finishing your bowl with additional herbs and garnishes. Depending on your mood, you can create anything from an extraordinarily virtuous and low-calorie bowl of South African Durban curry with shrimp, mushrooms and eggplant over a bed of vegetable spaghetti for a mere 188 calories or a more decadent bowl of Italian Creamy Florentine with shrimp, mushrooms and spinach over rice for 520 calories (still a caloric bargain over pretty much any Chipotle burrito).
Meat Pie Display
If for some reason you’re not feeling a full-on bowl of goodness drenched in a delicious sauce, the meat pies are comprised of ultra-pleasingly flaky puff pastry surrounding savory meat fillings (or spinach and feta, for vegetarians). Meant to be eaten with your hands, these pies are indeed perfectly sized for easy handling and munching on the go.
Thai Island w/Shrimp Over Noodles
My favorite sauce was the Thai Island, a red curry blend enriched with coconut milk and pineapple: the mildly sweet sauce with gentle heat made a really satisfying vegetarian meal stirred into a bed of noodles with tofu, eggplant and spinach. When pressed to pick a favorite, Julius admitted that he always returns to the Texas Chili, which is on my list to try next. With a nearly infinite number of possible flavor permutations, I anticipate many more visits to Spice Runner to sample as many as possible.