deeply-hued smoothies, healthy bowls + hearty salads
by Avivah with Offline
Happy + Hale 101
Happy + Hale is on a mission to make you healthy—and happy! They’re a local success story (more on that in a sec) offering colorful smoothies, all-day breakfast, hearty bowls, and succulent salads.
Happy + Hale is just one of those places where simply walking through the door makes you feel like you’re living your best life (or is that just us?). Their newer spots rock a modern, bright, and airy space with clean lines, lush greenery, and minimalist decor.
Because every Superhero needs an origin story, let’s back up a sec: Happy + Hale owners Matt Whitley and Tyler Helikson met at NC State University. They “lost touch after school, but following a few random, yet serendipitous meetings, they reconnected and saw an opportunity to improve the world—starting with a corner in downtown Raleigh.” They began delivering salads and fresh juices via tricycle, and the rest is history (in the making). In 2014, Matt and Tyler opened their flagship spot in Raleigh’s bustling City Plaza. It’s a quaint, fast-casual spot, perfect for a healthy meal on the go.
Since then, Happy + Hale has gotten so popular, they’ve expanded their empire, branching out to Durham, Greenville, and—most recently—a fourth location in North Hills.
Their Ninth Street spot brought Durhamites those vibrant salads and deeply-hued smoothies that’d gained major Insta-status in Raleigh—but Bull City got a few key upgrades, including a larger space and lots of seating. They also debuted their interior design aesthetic, unveiling a modern look with vibes for days.
And they’ve have doubled down on that vibe at their newest spot in North Hills. It’s an even bigger place, with a spacious patio, high ceilings, and sleek wood seating. But don’t worry, they’ve kept the same signature eats (and drinks!) at all their locations.
So, whether you’re a Durham or Raleigh person, one thing is for sure—you’re in for a fresh to death meal that your bod will thank you for.
What to order
It’s basically impossible to have an ugly, unhealthy meal at Happy + Hale. It’s an accessible menu with a colorful array of fresh options, and plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options; there’s pretty much something for everyone, whether you’re a full-on health nut, aspiring one, or just someone looking for a delish meal.
Happy + Hale’s all about customization so naturally, the BYO bowl is their best seller. Start at one end of the line and work your way down, DIY-ing as you go. You do you, boo.
Don’t feel like making that many choices? Leave it to the pros (you’re in good hands, don’t worry) and order a signature item off their menu. The Thai Chicken Crunch is an ever-popular choice, as is the Ahi Poke Bowl—and for good reason. They’re both light, vibrant, and have just enough kick to keep things interesting.
The Protein Bowl—another fan-fave—gets a serious boost thanks to flavorful herb roasted chicken, bacon, and black beans (we like to have ‘em toss in some spinach too for some added oomf). It’s filling, satisfying, and that honey sriracha dressing? It’s life.
If you’re in a hurry, Happy + Hale’s a great to-go. But if you’re really on the move, treat yourself to a smoothie. Made-to-order and fresh AF, these super-saturated sips will get you going and keep you fueled. The Almond Brothers, made with chocolate almond milk, banana, almond butter, and ground coffee is obviously awesome (they had us at chocolate almond milk, TBH). Also worth noting? The Pink Drink—featuring dragonfruit, ginger, coconut water and other goodies—has a super vibrant hue and is *almost* too pretty to pass up.
They’ve got a small all-day breakfast menu, which has all the fuel you need: Avocado Toast, Acai Bowl, Breakfast Wrap, and a Scramble.
You’ll also find local kombucha, a bubbler full of colorful infused water, and gluten-free sweet treats to complement your meal.
- Any salad can be turned into a wrap if that’s more your style.
- You can always get your salad mixed and chopped, which’ll make sure every bite is full of all the good stuff.
- The staff’s got a whole bunch of menu hacks that they were kind enough to share (as long as it just stays between us):
- Add avocado to the Big Green to make it creamier and more satiating. You can also sub banana for dragon fruit for a lower-carb—yet equally yummy—drink.
- Request chocolate almond milk in the City of Oats for a smoothie that’s more akin to a milkshake.
- Starving and craving Avocado Toast? Have them top it with bacon for a heartier treat.
- Combine Happy Water and Dragonade for a refreshing drink with just a hint of sweetness.
- The Avocado Cilantro and Honey Sriracha dressings pair perfectly. Get them both for the perfect balance of spicy heat, and cooling avocado.
- The pros know that you ALWAYS add Avocado Mash to your Bueno Bowl.