When a new neighbor moves in, they are usually showered with welcome gifts, even if it's just plates full of cookies.
Lucky for The Rainbow Connection, when a new Noodles & Company comes to town, they're the one giving a gift.
Noodles & Company, now open in The Village of Rochester Hills, is donating 100 percent of today's sales to The Rainbow Connection.
"We like their mission," Michael Endres, director of marketing, said, "And we really like how the money stays in Michigan."
The Rainbow Connection is a Rochester-based charity dedicated to granting wishes to Michigan children with life threatening or terminal illnesses.
Noodles & Company is open today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"From healthy to indulgent"
The first Noodles & Company opened in Colorado in 1995. There are now hundreds nationwide, with The Village location being the 14th in Michigan.
The concept behind Noodles & Company is offering classic dishes from around the world under one roof. The anchor that binds this diverse collection of dishes is, you guessed it, the noodle.
And that is how one family craving four different things— let's say Italian, Thai, Japanese and good old mac and cheese— can all eat together and still be happy.
"Our menu goes from healthy to indulgent," Endres said. "You choose."
The menu clearly lays out these options with the calories of each dish included in the write-up.
The lowest calorie dish is the Bangkok Curry with 480 calories in the regular serving size. The highest is a tie between the Steak Stroganoff and the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, each with 1,030.
But let me just pause here to say, if you are going to indulge, that Mac & Cheese is worth every calorie. And for a limited time you can get it topped with BBQ pork. Noodles & Company describes it as mind-blowing and they're got that right.
I'm not the only fan of the Mac & Cheese. Endres said it is the company's No. 1 seller nationwide.
Step One: Choose Your Dish
Noodles & Company refers to itself as "fast casual." That means you place your order at the counter and the meal is delivered to your table. You get your own drink at the fanciest soda dispenser I've ever seen.
The menu includes a dozen pasta dishes, from Japanese Pan Noodles to Indonesian Peanut Saute and everything in between. Endres said Pad Thai and Penne Rosa (with spicy tomato cream sauce, mushrooms, tomato and spinach) are two of the more popular dishes. But after seven years with the company Endres said his favorite is the Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine with broccoli, red pepper, onion and mushrooms.
The first step in to choose your dish from these twelve. Next pick your size, regular or small. Most dishes are $5.59 for regular and $4.49 for small with the exceptions of Spaghetti & Meatballs ($7.98/$6.88) and Steak Stroganoff ($8.24/$7.14).
Steps 3 and 4 are optional. You can add meat or tofu. I added sauteed shrimp to my Pad Thai for $2.59. A side salad or soup can be added to your dish for $1 more.
We tried the Thai Curry Soup and the Cucumber Tomato Salad. Both were delicious with exceptionally fresh vegetables.
Noodles & Company "welcomes creativity," meaning you can add or remove fresh ingredients to your liking.
While I loved the consistency of my Pad Thai noodles and the fact that it wasn't at all greasy, next time I would definitely order it with extra spice.
It's not all noodles
Don't let the name fool you, Noodles & Company is more than just noodles. The menu also includes five sandwiches prepared in either flatbread or ciabatta rolls, four salads and three soups.
While there is not a specific Children's Menu, any pasta can be ordered in small and some— like the Mac & Cheese and Buttered Noodles— are kid-friendly. Endres mentioned the Pesto Cavatappi, with curly pasta, pesto, mushrooms and tomato, is fun for kids.
"The Village has a great energy," Endres said. "It's a good fit."
After today's special Rainbow Connection benefit, Noodles & Company will be opened for their regular business hours, Sunday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are located at 184 N. Adams Road in The Village of Rochester Hills.