Montgomery Ward Plaza’s burgeoning retail complex now includes a variety of sit-down restaurants. However, there are very few grab- and-go options, unless you count the 99-cent bagged popcorn at the SuperTarget. Wayne Jones, owner of Planet Smoothie, saw this gap as a great opportunity for his new franchise. After considering locations downtown and by Texas Christian University, Jones decided that the demographic of West 7th Street’s new retail core would be most welcoming.
Planet Smoothie is a dizzying array of neon and bright pastels. The store has five two-top tables inside and a few patio seats outside. There are about two dozen smoothies, all categorized by “lifestyle need.” Each drink comes with one boost (in the form of an invigorating powdered product), and you can order as many extra boosts as you like, including the one for your immune system, echinacea powder. (Ew.) Trying to get buff? Add nine grams of creatine monohydrate. If you’re trying to stay slim, try the “Rasmanian Devil” (raspberries, banana, and a “fat burner blast”). Stressed out? There’s the “anti-stress” boost of kava, gingko, and B-vitamins. Planet Smoothie even has a (cue angelic chorus) “Hangover Over” smoothie, in addition to protein smoothies and kids’ smoothies (no fancy powders). And in the interest of grabbing and going, there’s also a selection of breakfast items, three kinds of sandwiches, four wraps, and even two salads. What they don’t have is a way for a new customer to easily understand what she’s ordering.
The teenagers working on a recent Saturday afternoon were pleasant but couldn’t answer any technical questions, leaving my guests and me to order based on luck and our rudimentary understanding of smoothie-dom. Our first order was a letdown: a hot ham and cheese sandwich on ciabatta bread with chips. Although the lettuce and tomato were fresh, the sandwich came on wheat bread and wasn’t even warm, much less hot. We pointed this out to the employees, thinking perhaps that they’d be glad to know their mega-toaster wasn’t working, but they must have just chugged a giant anti-stress smoothie. Their response was a casual “Oh?”