Hummus Republic, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant, opened at the end of May 2022, filling the space at 6546 Pardall Road that was previously occupied by the thought-to-be infallible Blaze Pizza. 

I was cautiously excited when I first learned what would be replacing my beloved Blaze. Hummus Republic, at first glance, appeared reminiscent of one of my hometown favorites, CAVA, a similar Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant with many locations throughout Southern California. CAVA was my go-to back home for a quick, delicious meal, and I lacked a spot like that in Isla Vista. 

A Hummus Republic bowl containing beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, chicken shawarma, hummus, herbs and lemon olive oil dressing. Chace Duma / Daily Nexus

I was excited for a little more variety in the Isla Vista food scene; it’d be nice to have an option outside Mexican food, Asian food, pizza or miscellaneous drunchies. The caution, of course, came from three years of living in I.V., being disappointed by mediocre food sold at expensive prices. 

After a long wait spent salivating at the sign on the empty building, Hummus Republic finally opened on May 26, 2022. I’ve had it twice since its opening, both experiences being pretty positive. 

Entering the restaurant, you’re met with the beginning of their bar where you start your order. At each station along the bar, there’s a list of options in the corner with each option marked with symbols denoting if they’re vegan, gluten-free, organic and hormone-free. As someone who can’t eat gluten or dairy and tries to eat organic and hormone-free as much as possible, I really appreciated this touch. Small details like this are an easy way to make a customer feel more comfortable and confident in what they’re eating. 

I started my trip around the bar by opting for a bowl, the only option for someone who can’t eat gluten. My only disappointment with their menu came right afterward when I was asked to select a base. They offer five options: couscous, garbanzo beans, kale, mixed greens and spinach, allowing you to mix and match as you please. Couscous, the only grain offered as a base, is made of wheat and, therefore, contains gluten. I was looking forward to the heartiness that comes with a base made of grains but unfortunately had to opt for a couple of handfuls of the mixed greens instead. Given their allergen consciousness, I was surprised at their decision not to offer another, more dietarily inclusive grain like rice. 

Next, you saddle up to their spreads section. You’re allowed up to three ice cream-size scoops of their six spreads. I opted for the traditional hummus, kalamata olive hummus and harissa hummus. After that, you round the corner to their protein section. They offer three meat-based proteins and three plant-based proteins — an even split, which is rare! I opted for the chicken shawarma.

Next comes the toppings section, where you can really get creative. Hummus Republic offers over 15 toppings and you can choose as many as you want, the only limit being the size of your vessel. I chose the beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives and fresh herbs. I also chose the dolmades, which cost a dollar extra for two. Finally, you have your choice of six dressings. I opted for the simple lemon and olive oil. Overall, my bowl cost $15.36. 

So, how’d it taste? Great! While you can certainly pick and choose your bites, I mixed everything together. This way, the hummus coats every single bite of chicken, beet, olive, cucumber, etc., adding a wonderful creamy texture and flavor. I love Mediterranean food for its freshness, and Hummus Republic didn’t disappoint; it’s exactly what I was looking for in a new I.V. restaurant. It’s healthy and delicious, and it’s sure to become a regular for me.