How I Found Happiness at Happy and Hale

Happy and Hale Cheeni Bowl with two sauces, pickled red onions, chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, veggies, and rice.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy fresh, fast, healthy food in Raleigh, NC, you might want to check out Happy and Hale. I recently visited their North Hills location and was blown away by their menu, service, and atmosphere. Here’s why I think Happy and Hale is the perfect spot to fill your body with wholesome goodness and fuel your happiness.

Happy and Hale’s Mission

Happy and Hale restaurant front entrance in North Hills Raleigh NC with green umbrella

According to their website, Happy and Hale’s mission is simple, “We believe when we eat better, we feel better. When we feel better, we act better. When we act better, our communities become better.” Their motto? “Fuel Happiness.”

Now, I don’t know if ya’ll have checked out my original blog site, Eastern Wake Love, but there’s something you should know about me.  I am ALL about uplifting our communities and advocating for access to affordable, healthier food, resources, and amenities for all.  

So, I was happy to support a local business that cares about their community, too.  Beyond their three locations in Raleigh, you can also find Happy and Hale in two spots in Durham.

Pssst- Happy and Hale- if you’re reading this, PLEASE consider coming on over to Knightdale!  I know many of us Eastern Wake folks would love to have you, and we have a really pretty park that you would look great next to! 😉

How Does Their Food Help Your Health?

Happy and Hale’s website has a pretty comprehensive nutrition information page for a local business.  I appreciate that all individual available ingredients are listed so that if you choose to omit something, you can adjust your calculation for your macro nutrients like fat, protein, carbs, and calories for what you’re consuming accordingly.  

They also identify which of their menu items are gluten-free, vegan, and which contain your common allergens (dairy, eggs, nuts, soy).

Now, when it comes to their food, you’ll notice that all of their items have vegetables in their ingredients.  They offer at least one vegan bowl, but you can create a variety of other options yourself with their create your own bowl option.  Most of their bowls seem to be very heavily plant-based, with the option to add whole grains, beans, and a lean protein. So what does this mean for you?

According to a 2021 article in Nutrients, plant-based diets can be therapeutic (meaning they help treat or prevent) cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis. Plant-based diets are also associated with a diverse gut microbiota (aka, it helps us have all the good bacteria in our stomach to boost our immune systems and keep us healthier).  Check out the end of this article for the citation and link for more info!

So, if you’re on a wellness journey and want to start practicing healthier habits, incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet!

bins of greens- arugula, kale, mixed greens, shredded kale, and spinach

Happy and Hale’s Menu

Let’s start off with what their menu offers for dietary options:

Happy and Hale offers a variety of bowls, salads, and smoothies that are made with fresh, whole-food ingredients. You can choose from their signature options or create your own bowl with your favorite base, veggies, protein, toppings, crunch, and dressing. They also have all-day breakfast items like the Scramble, which is three eggs scrambled with your choice of two veggies, quinoa, cheese, and bacon.

Happy and Hale menu and serving station

I decided to try their new Cheeni Bowl, which is a collaboration with Cheeni Indian Food Emporium, a James Beard Foundation Awards 2023 semifinalist. 

It’s a delicious combination of kabab chicken, curry veggies, pickled onions, diced tomatoes, white rice, chopped romaine, crispy chickpeas, mint chutney, and achari aioli. It was a burst of flavor and texture in every bite, and I loved how the mint chutney and the achari aioli balanced the mild spiciness of the curry. The portion size was generous and filling, and I felt satisfied without feeling like I overdid it.

Happy and Hale Cheeni Bowl with two sauces, pickled red onions, chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, veggies, and rice.

For my drink, I ordered the Big Green smoothie, which is a blend of spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana, mint, lemon, and coconut water. It’s the lowest-calorie smoothie on the menu (205 calories) and is jam-packed with ingredients that have lots of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals.  Free radicals play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, so the antioxidants always fight the good fight!

My smoothie was refreshing without being overly sweet, a great way to hydrate, and it was the perfect complement to my bowl. They also had compostable straws for the win! 

Happy and Hale Cheeni bowl with a big green smoothie and blue straw.

The Service

One of the things that impressed me the most about Happy and Hale was their service. They have a convenient online ordering system that allows you to place your order ahead of time and pick it up at the store.  However, this was my first time visiting, so I wanted to order in person so I could see what looked good once I was there.

The staff at the store was friendly, helpful, and efficient. They greeted me with a smile and confirmed my order. They ensured that my food was ready quickly and I had everything I needed. The one thing that stood out to me was how calm the staff were.  They seemed to be happily, steadily humming along, which always gives you good vibes about a place.

Happy and Hale’s North Hills Atmosphere

Happy and Hale has a bright, modern, and cozy atmosphere that makes you feel welcome and relaxed. The store is spacious and clean, with plenty of seating options, including tables, chairs, and a counter and barstools section that looks out on the towers in North Hills. They also have large windows that let in natural light.  The decor is modern, simple, and airy, with touches of green and earthy, light wood. 

Happy and Hale restaurant interior with rattan pendants, wooden tables, concrete floors, white painted duct work, and green plants

The store also has a positive and upbeat vibe, with upbeat music playing in the background and customers chatting and laughing. You can tell that people enjoy being there and that they appreciate the food and the service. 

If you’re coming here to specifically be inspired to eat and be healthier on your wellness journey, I have to say that the Raleigh North Hills Happy and Hale is really well positioned!  On the same street is an Orangetheory Fitness studio, CycleBar, and Midtown Yoga, so if you want to get your exercise on, there are plenty of options here!  Or, if you want to move your body at a more leisurely pace, you can enjoy roaming the streets of North Hills or mosey around Quail Ridge Books afterward, too.

What I Wish Were Different

While I was dining, I did note another family in the restaurant dining with a baby in a highchair, so yay for Happy and Hale having high chairs to offer!  However, I didn’t notice any fresh items on the menu for kids.  I think parents would rejoice if they had a place where they could go to grab healthy food not only for themselves but also for their kids (just on a smaller scale).  

The Verdict

I had a wonderful experience at Happy and Hale, and I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu items. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a healthy, delicious, and affordable meal in Raleigh, NC. Happy and Hale is more than just a restaurant; it’s a place that brings healthy, quick, delicious, and affordable meals to our fast-paced lives. If you combine all of that, then it really is a place where you can fuel your happiness.

So what do you think? What’s your favorite Happy and Hale bowl, or maybe you have found your perfect self-created combination? Drop your comments below!

Citation

Craig WJ, Mangels AR, Fresán U, Marsh K, Miles FL, Saunders AV, Haddad EH, Heskey CE, Johnston P, Larson-Meyer E, et al. The Safe and Effective Use of Plant-Based Diets with Guidelines for Health Professionals. Nutrients. 2021; 13(11):4144. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13114144

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