Trying the keto diet? These Augusta-area restaurants offer low carb, high fat meals

Diablo’s Southwest Grill co-owner Carl Wallace was inspired to add keto-friendly food to the menu because of his wife, who practices a keto diet as part of her active lifestyle.

“She’s like ‘There’s nowhere you can eat out,'” he said.

The ketogenic, or keto, diet consists of consuming high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein and very low amounts of carbohydrates. The diet is meant to re-program and boost a person’s metabolism in order to encourage weight loss. In 2020, “keto” was the most Googled food-related topic in the world with 25.4 million searches, according to Bolst Global.

Despite its popularity, not many restaurants offer keto options, but there are a few in the Augusta-area:

La Cocina Del Rey in Grovetown

Latin-American keto-appropriate food means no rice, chips, tortilla and other carb-friendly foods. But that hasn’t stopped La Cocina Del Rey.

General manager Isabella Baldwin said her personal favorites are the keto fajitas and the keto dip. The fajitas consist of chicken breasts topped with bacon, cheese and mushrooms with a side of lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. The dip consists of shrimp, mushrooms, cheese and pico de gallo; and it’s eaten with chicharrones (pork rinds).

They also offer a keto omelet, cooked with avocado oil, stuffed with cheese, ham and freshly sliced avocado.

“I feel like some of the people who get anything that’s keto, they just like the way it tastes,” Baldwin said. “I think the reason they mainly like it is because it’s not heavy.”

La Cocina is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Monday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. It’s located 419 Lewiston Road in Grovetown. 

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Diablo’s Southwest Grill

Diablo’s launched its keto bowl in late 2019. Guests can pick from a variety of meats, which is paired with lettuce, pico, shredded lettuce and guacamole, with a drizzle of sour cream and chipotle ranch on top. Plus, it’s prepared and served in a white bowl to differentiate from the other bowl dishes in order to avoid carb-loaded ingredients.

Wallace said they have had great success with it, serving around 20 keto bowls a day in each of their locations.

“This bowl will prove to you that a diet can be tasty,” Wallace said. “It doesn’t have to be bland, it doesn’t have to be rice-cakes. It can be very flavorful.”

Diablo’s is open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. There are locations in Augusta at 3668 Wheeler Road, 3597 Peach Orchard Road, 1022 Walton Way and 3102 Washington Road; in Evans at 610 Mullins Colony Drive; in Grovetown at 4036 Gateway Boulevard; in North Augusta at 1279 Knox Ave.; and in Aiken at 3553 Richland Ave. and 1941 Whiskey Road.

For a full menu and to order online, go to diablossouthwestgrill.com.

Laziza Mediterranean Grill

Laziza Mediterranean Grill general manager David Holmes said they tried making and selling their keto bowl just 3-4 months ago, but it was so popular, they had to make it a menu staple.

The bowl consists of grilled zucchini, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes; all of which are tossed in a homemade tomato sauce. The blend is sautéed and mixed with chicken shawarma and fried cauliflower, then topped with garlic chili sauce and parsley.

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“It was our kitchen manager in Evans’ idea,” Holmes said. “Someone he knows was on the keto diet, and he was like ‘This is a really good thing that we can offer. We can take some of our sellers, and add them together to make this amazing dish.'”

Laziza is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. There are locations in Augusta at 901 Broad St. and in Evans at 4272 Washington Road. 

For a full menu and to order online, go to lazizagrill.com.

Sinless Sweets

After a meal at one of these restaurants, a keto-friendly dessert can be enjoyed at Sinless Sweets. But while the other eateries offer limited limited keto-dishes, all of this bakery’s creations are keto-friendly. They are also sugar-free and gluten-free, says owner and head baker Amber Connor. The bakery also creates dairy-free and vegan desserts on request.

Connor said their treats are made keto-friendly with an almond, coconut and gluten-free flours, which are lower in carbs than standard flour. They also use ingredients like heavy whipping cream, butter and peanut butter in order to increase the fat.

The menu is changed out every month to keep the options creative and interesting.

“We are always creating and re-inventing breakfast and dessert items,” Connor said. “Taking everyday recipes and figuring out how to make them keto and low-carb, that’s my favorite part of this whole business.”

Two of her favorites on the current menu include the strawberry cheesecake bars, which have a light flaky crust with cheesecake and fresh strawberry preserves, and their “Snickers Bar,” which is a healthy recreation of the popular candy bar.

Sinless Sweets is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It’s located at 4336 Washington Road in Evans. For more information and to see the latest treats, go to the bakery’s Facebook page.

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Keto-friendly meal prep services

One popular strategy for eating on a diet is meal prepping, in which meals are carefully prepared and made ready to eat ahead of time. There are plenty of businesses that create diet-friendly meal plans for purchase. Some of the Augusta-area meal prep services that offer keto-friendly meals include:

  • Clean Eatz features both dine-in, to-go and prepared meal plans. It’s located at 630 Crane Creek Drive in Augusta and open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
  • Paleo Num Yums at 359 Furys Ferry Road in Martinez. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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Risks of following a keto diet

While keto is a popular diet, research suggests it may not be for everyone. Doctors at Harvard Health in 2019 said long-term keto dieting could result in heart issues due to the high amounts of fat. They recommended trying to avoid saturated fats when possible in place of more healthy sources of fat, like nuts and olive oil.

Atkins, which also offers keto diets, emphasizes that while keto means little carbs, it doesn’t mean no carbs, and recommends eating plenty of nutrient-dense, non-starchy veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms and peppers in order to get the needed carbs and other vitamins and minerals.

Health experts also recommend consulting with a physician before undergoing a new diet.

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