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Two new healthier food chains opening in Columbia

Verde open in Forest Acres; Kairos Mediterranean coming June 11 to Devine

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Although the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the hospitality industry, two new restaurant chains have entered the Columbia market.

Verde serves up fresh salads, soups and wraps at their new location in Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres. The Charleston-based chain founded in 2011 features locally sourced greens and seasonal items served with house made dressings. The menu features some signature salads -- such as the Farmers Market with mesclun, baby spinach, arugula, beets, cucumber, roasted broccoli, avocado, pickled onion, sunflower seeds, Everything Bagel Seasoning, and fresh basil with Green Goddess Dressing -- and a build-your-own option.Vegan and gluten-free menu items available. eatverde.com

Kairos Mediterranean will be opening Friday, June 12, at 4600 Devine Street. The newly-constructed building is near Gills Creek and the intersection of Devine and Rosewood Drive. The restaurant features healthy Mediterranean-inspired sandwiches and salads and has a kids' menu. You can order one of the signature items -- such as the Love Triangle Pita with lamb, harissa, tzatziki, olives and feta -- or build-your-own pita, salad or grain bowl. eatkairos.com

Lizard's Thicket to (temporarily) close two locations. The Lizard's Thicket restaurants at 2240 Airport Blvd. in West Columbia, and 402 Beltline Blvd near Midlands Tech in Columbia will temporarily close and the staff shifted to supplement operations at the other 12 Midlands locations. Owner Robbie Williams says, "COVID-19 has caused a strain on all aspects of our operations -- from food supply to staffing -- but we are committed to operating our business as safely and efficiently as possible. Temporarily closing two locations will allow us to have enough staff to provide our other locations with the excellent service our customers expect."

Williams expects to reopen the two locations at the end of summer, and will announce a date in August. The Columbia-based chain that features country cooking/meat-and-threes is actively hiring for all positions. lizardsthicket.com