First Look: Happy+Hale opens May 17 in Falls Park Place downtown Greenville

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Happy+Hale Greenville's design is unique to the company, featuring plus-sign lights and pink barstools | photography by Will Crooks

When a restaurant marketed as fast-casual has the Old English term “hale” in its name (meaning free from disease or infirmity; robust; vigorous), you might assume the menu options are slightly more sophisticated than grilled chicken salad.

And you’d be correct in the case of Happy+Hale, whose most popular menu items include an ahi poké bowl (raw ahi tuna, avocado, sticky rice, sliced scallion, tuxedo sesame, ginger wasabi and citrus ponzu dressings), quinoa bowl (golden organic quinoa, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced onions, feta cheese, cilantro, avocado, tortilla crunch, red pepper vinaigrette), and avocado toast (avocado mash, red pepper flakes, olive oil, capers, multigrain toast, and a sunnyside egg).

Happy+Hale opens this week at 600 S. Main St., #101, in the 2,500-square-foot space behind Lululemon and under Jianna in Falls Park Place, downtown Greenville.

The 43-seat Greenville location is the third Happy+Hale college friends Matt Whitley and Tyler Helikson have opened. The first opened in Raleigh, N.C., in 2014 and the second in Durham, N.C., in 2016.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and are so excited to open our first location outside of North Carolina in Greenville,” Helikson says.

Happy+Hale began literally with a tricycle, an electric golf cart, and a website made overnight, as Whitley and Helikson set out to provide a fast, healthy dining option serving juices, salads, and breakfast items as fuel to better people’s lives and encourage community. Central to the business model is sourcing ingredients locally and partnering with local yoga studios as a means of growing community.

While they’ve since outgrown the street-cart-style retail, Happy+Hale still provides bike delivery within a 1.5-mile radius of its stores.

Each of the three stores is unique in design — Greenville’s features plus-sign overhead lights, light pink bar stools, blonde wood paneling, and a neon “I’ve Been Drinkin’” sign over the juice bar. Helikson says they threw a brainstorming party to determine what the sign should say and landed on the first line of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love.”

Also unique to Greenville is frosé, or frozen rosé, that was recently added to the menu. Happy+Hale is one of the first to serve it in the Upstate though it’s been a growing trend since last summer in coastal towns.

While training the 40 new employees before the friends and family night held May 13, Helikson explained the particulars of what makes a Happy+Hale salad different.

“The key to a good salad is bite-size pieces with a little bit of everything in every bite,” he says, holding up large pieces of ingredients as examples of what not to use.

Happy+Hale opens May 17 and 18 for lunch only, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. On May 19, normal hours begin — Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Breakfast is served all day, though it is not available for delivery.

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