Top of the Hill Nutrition is a top-of-the-line experience


Chris DiMeo

Every meal presents the timeless question: taste, nutritional value or affordability? But why should we have to choose between such important values in our food? Finally, there’s a way you can have it all, at the newly opened Top of the Hill Nutrition.

The shop, owned by WKU senior Austin Sutcliffe, opened its doors earlier this month at its small storefront on Fairview Ave. Targeting health-conscious college students, Sutcliffe and his crew of fellow students serve up meal replacement shakes, nutritionally rich substitutes that aim to provide a delicious means for students to eat well.

This is a brilliant idea, considering college students are notorious for skipping meals. Now students can grab a shake and carry on with their packed schedule, while still getting the nutrients they need.

Top of the Hill Nutrition is also unique in its three-step menu. With every shake, customers also get an aloe shot and an herbal tea.

First is the mango aloe shot, which prevents heartburn and helps the stomach smoothly digest the shake. At first, the 1 1/2 tablespoons or so of slightly bubbly clear liquid may look a bit disconcerting, but it has a light, sweet taste and is incredibly refreshing.

Afterwards, the herbal tea is served on ice to kick-start the metabolism and set the body up for burning more calories. Unfortunately, this is the one part of the meal where I felt a bit disappointed. The tea, which comes in lemon, peach or raspberry flavor, was very weak and watery. Admittedly, this is characteristic of herbal teas, but weakness of flavor is far more pleasant in hot tea than cold, so the decision to put the tea on ice seemed less than desirable.

The final stage of the culinary journey is the shake itself. Top of the Hill serves over 60 flavors of shakes, from simple fruit flavors like strawberry banana and orange creamsicle to baked goods, such as peanut butter pie, french toast and various Girl Scout cookies.

Based on the flavors I tried—strawberry banana and Samoa—the dessert flavors are better tasting than the fruit flavors. All of the shakes have a slight hint of the grainy texture and slight starchy taste typical of health supplements, but it is barely noticeable at all in the chocolate or baked good flavors.

However, I rated the taste at a five out of five because the flavors are incredibly delicious considering that their primary purpose is to be nutritionally substantial. Most health drinks that the world offers are tasteless or have to compromise sugar content for palatability, but Top of the Hill’s shakes strike an amazing balance of being thoroughly enjoyable while still coming in at under 200 calories, providing 25 grams of protein and being the size of a standard milkshake.

The shakes are also superior to many other health drinks because they are designed to keep people full for as many as six or seven hours, reducing the desire to overeat and therefore helping with weight loss.

As far as the atmosphere of the shop goes, I had mixed feelings. The space is roomy, clean and open, but visually it is rather bare-bones. But considering that it is new, this is not a hindrance to enjoying the experience, especially because the customer service warms up the entire shop. Sutcliffe and his staff go out of their way to talk to customers and treat everyone like an old friend.

Lastly, the cherry on top of this meal replacement sundae is that it isn’t a sacrifice on the wallet, despite the fact that the products are both healthy and delicious. Considering that the shakes substitute for an entire meal, it seems like a steal that they cost only about $6 each.

If my outpouring of glowing praise has not made it evident, Top of the Hill Nutrition will please everyone: your wallet, your taste buds and your bathroom scale. So why wouldn’t you go when you can truly have it all?

Taste: 5/5

Price: 3/5

Atmosphere: 4/5