For a workday lunch, there's lots to like at this quick-serve Mediterranean mini-chain.
The bulk of the menu is under the "sandwiches" heading, although the items, all typical Mediterranean offerings, including plenty of vegetarian options, are either a wrap or made with pita. The thicker, pocketless interpolation of the pita tastes great, but the meal inevitably ends deconstructed, as bits of tender meat and fresh vegetables (romaine lettuce, surprisingly ripe and flavorful tomatoes) tumble out of the stocky flatbread.
Other menu choices include rice bowls, a few kabob plates, a handful of soups and several meal-sized salads. Sides, such as tomato-and-cucumber-based salads, hummus and falafel, are available a la carte or as an accompaniment to a main course for an additional $1. Egg-based dishes, pastries and other breakfast items are available in the morning.
Mezza's food casts a wide geographic net - no fewer than five city or country names grace various dish titles - and this large swath of globe is reflected in a lengthy menu that looms large above the counter. If you're nearsighted or prone to indecisiveness, check out the online menu before coming in, especially because the line - and there's a line throughout most of the day - whips along a good pace, and an all-business employee will put the pressure on you before you know it.
Most customers do takeout, but with a sleek avocado and brown interior, high ceilings and plenty of windows, Mezza is soothing for a popular grab-and-go lunch place. If you don't mind the rumble from adjacent L tracks, there's also outdoor seating by the main entrance, which is actually on Wells Street (although you can make it to the restaurant through the building's Madison Street face by going through the lobby and staying to your right).
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough