Can Salad Bars Be Saved?
July 9, 2020 7:35 AM   Subscribe

 
Sally for salmonella, right?
posted by chavenet at 7:47 AM on July 9, 2020 [27 favorites]


The supers I go to do not have salad bars. Don't remember if they ever did, because I'm one of those "shoppers [who] considered salad bars unhygienic." So I don't really buy that they're "crucial." My recollection is that salad bars were kind of a fad in fast-food restaurants, and that they faded away due to fears of contagion years ago.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


Salad bars made supermarkets a “destination.”

This seems like hyperbole.
posted by selfnoise at 8:15 AM on July 9, 2020 [35 favorites]


I realised in reading this that class perceptions play into my personal analysis on whether a salad bar is likely to be hygienic or not (which is nonsense, but I already know that most of my contagion anxiety is nonsense). I will happily eat from the self-serve counter at Wholefoods but perceive the salad bar at our local regular person supermarket as too gross to touch.

There was a slight hint of "we've looked at the problem for five minutes and the only solution is a six-foot robot" in the article, and I found the part about shoppers inevitably gorging themselves on salmon unless portion control is forced on them by a robot weirdly irritating and infantilising, which is odd given that I haven't eaten salmon in over a decade. Might just be a reflection of my overall level of grarr this week, but there's also a small part of me that will be very sad if we wander into a future of frequent robot-enforced portion control. I want to reserve the right to gorge, or at least be prevented from doing so by someone I could plausibly reason with.
posted by terretu at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


It's not just salad as in uncooked veg in these things, at least it never has been in the stores I've seen in Canada.

Then ones around me are more like buffets, with cooked hots and chilled salads and other things. These have been largely converted to prepackaged, wrapped dishes since the pandemic hit as discussed in the article. They're called "meals" at the 99¢ places and charcuterie counters at the $9.99 ones (which is wrong too), but they're all "salad bars".

They're so popular in many stores there's a separate cash for people who just want to grab something quick and go, either at lunch or on the way home for dinner.
posted by bonehead at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2020 [12 favorites]


I will not eat from anything that needs a sneeze guard.
posted by Splunge at 8:23 AM on July 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


I want to reserve the right to gorge, or at least be prevented from doing so by someone I could plausibly reason with.

I think the salmon thing was more trying to get at the difficulty of costing a self-served meal with ingredients of wildly different prices, but I've seen plenty of solutions to this that aren't a giant salad robot.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:23 AM on July 9, 2020 [7 favorites]


They're so popular in many stores there's a separate cash for people who just want to grab something quick and go, either at lunch or on the way home for dinner.

New modern Whole Foods stores are mostly 'salad bar' as you described. They only have 3-4 actual aisles of unprepared food.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:25 AM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


The thing my college's cafe learned when they replaced their salad bar with Sally was that the robot breaks down fairly often and was out of order so often that customers stopped expecting to go there for a salad.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:37 AM on July 9, 2020 [10 favorites]


Neat, salad bars not existing for the foreseeable future is one of those things that has me super bummed out and I thought I was alone in that.

I love salads but ordering one from a menu at a restaurant I find is a gamble compared to non-salad menu items. Often not hardy enough, too much of one overpowering ingredient, etc
posted by ToddBurson at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Unless this damn salad robot is going to let me add certain critical ingredients one tiny careful shake at a time so as to get it exactly right, I'm never going to use it. Although I could be swayed if it would chop up my salad after I'm done adding everything to it, which is my biggest complaint about salad bar salad.

Dangit, I have not routinely used a salad bar or buffet in years, but there is something about the loss of them that makes me especially grief-y about all this. It's probably just that it's a very minor but concrete thing, but sometimes I just liked a salad bar salad, or the hot food bar at Whole Foods if I absolutely had to go there and it was still breakfast time.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:41 AM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Salad bars made supermarkets a “destination.”

This seems like hyperbole.


I don't have any references right now, but I believe there has been a lot of conversation in the food-insecurity world on how salad/hot bars in grocery stores and supermarkets have sort of replaced the old version of community cafeterias - accessible, decent food for reasonable prices that are especially relied on by the elderly or those unable to cook regularly.
posted by Think_Long at 8:52 AM on July 9, 2020 [34 favorites]


I love hot bars. When I worked in Manhattan, Bread & Butter was my go-to lunch place because I could put together a lunch featuring exactly what I wanted in the precise proportions so that there was no waste. In Philly I used to go the Four Seasons Food Mart until it closed, after which I found a different purveyor of a-la-carte hot lunch foods.

RIP, choose-your-own-lunch.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2020 [9 favorites]


Pouring one* out for Souplantation.

*one swig of ranch dressing
posted by q*ben at 8:58 AM on July 9, 2020 [12 favorites]


Yeah, as the summer wears on I'm definitely missing my local store's salad bar that allowed me to make the _right_ kind of fruit salad, one that isn't 99% godawful melon and bland strawberries - just enough to cut down on the acidity of the pineapple and grapes, to make you appreciate the better fruit, right?

But no, now I gotta spend 2-3x as much for a pre-packaged fruit salad that's mostly mealy melon and no thanks...
posted by Kyol at 9:03 AM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


The Vons (aka Safeway aka Albertsons aka a 101 different smaller brands owned by Albertsons) near me has both a big salad bar and a big hot bar. And yeah, I've noticed people using them precisely as the replacement for something quick and easy that isn't Subway.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:10 AM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I've seen plenty of solutions to this that aren't a giant salad robot.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2020 [18 favorites]


Wegmans had the most glorious salad bars, hot lunch bars...really, anything you could want. I will miss them.
posted by oflinkey at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


This isn't a good time to reminisce about your favorite buffet experience. This is the time to organize and shut down every thing that looks like a salad bar and doesn't involve boiling oil.

Saying "I miss salad bars" is not the same thing as saying "we should ignore all health concerns and keep salad bars open at all costs".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:17 AM on July 9, 2020 [22 favorites]


>Salad bars made supermarkets a “destination.”

>>This seems like hyperbole.


I've gotta admit, when the DingoWife and I first moved to a place near a Whole Foods, their salad bar/buffet thing definitely became a go-to dinner option in our rotation for a while. Even then, though, I had to forcibly shut off the part of my brain that is vaguely squicked out by other people in general, and I can see why they (the salad bars, not other people I guess) would need to be done away with.

I will also admit that I'm far more bummed at the possibility of losing those self-serve frozen yogurt places where you could put great whopping mounds of sour patch kids and those little poppy balls on your yogurt if you wanted - I'm not sure I'd be able to look even a robot in the eye and ask it to continue piling on the gummy worms to my actual satisfaction. Those, and bulk bins at grocery stores (mostly for things I fed to "my" backyard birds) are the things I've been missing most lately.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:18 AM on July 9, 2020 [9 favorites]


Mod note: One comment removed. You don't have to read the article, but if so commenting to say you didn't and won't and want to say something else isn't a good idea. Please just skip a thread if you don't want to engage with the content of it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on July 9, 2020 [6 favorites]


Before the lockdown I would go to the local grocery store for the salad bar/hot meals bar for lunch 3-4 times a week: it was easier than packing my own food and not inordinately expensive and close enough that I could walk to it from work.

Now, I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home so I eat my meals here and save a little money. But if I had to work in the office again I would be missing this for sure.
posted by JDHarper at 9:28 AM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]




Salad bars made supermarkets a “destination.”

What with a pandemic going on, better to call them a "destination" than a "hot spot", maybe.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2020 [6 favorites]


No, no one needs to be wasting their time and money on this. What grocery stores NEED to be doing is taking out all the front windows and replacing them with screens. (And, I guess, those roll-down security gates for at night.)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:41 AM on July 9, 2020


No, no one needs to be wasting their time and money on this. What grocery stores NEED to be doing is taking out all the front windows and replacing them with screens. (And, I guess, those roll-down security gates for at night.)

This is only going to work if you are in Florida or Hawaii. Elsewhere it'll be awful once winter hits in force.
posted by jmauro at 9:47 AM on July 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


A friend rolled up to the service counter with a product she wanted to return, "These frozen peas kinda taste like an ash tray, not sure what's wrong with them." Staffer said, "No problem hon" and refunded her two dollars. As my friend walked away, she heard the staffer turn and say to someone, "Go put these peas on the salad bar..."
posted by bendybendy at 9:49 AM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


Our local store roped off the hot bar area and stationed an employee inside the ropes to fetch what you wanted.

Seems like that's a lot simpler, cheaper, self-cleaning, and able to understand more complicated requests than a robot can.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:02 AM on July 9, 2020 [10 favorites]


Open windows are not magic covid prevention, and I also don't want to be (or buy food that lives) inside a blazing hot building full of dripping people.

Most grocery stores here in California have limited but decent hot and cold bars at the deli counter, where employees dish it up and hand it over packaged and weighed. Expanding those counters would be a way to continue offering those kind of meal and meal-component options relatively safely, and at least in the current circumstances where restaurant/take-out food is more difficult to obtain.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:06 AM on July 9, 2020 [6 favorites]


> My local health food store had a great salad bar/buffet table with lots of homemade ingredients, then the homeless start[ed] eating from it.

And what? Now it's contaminated by homeless germs? You're worried about catching homelessness? I'm struggling to resolve that non sequiter in a way that isn't ugly and hurtful to people suffering from homelessness.
posted by thoroughburro at 10:13 AM on July 9, 2020 [29 favorites]




No, no one needs to be wasting their time and money on this. What grocery stores NEED to be doing is taking out all the front windows and replacing them with screens.

This is only going to work if you are in Florida or Hawaii.


This is not going to work in Florida or Hawaii. Lucky's (RIP) tried it because apparently it worked in Colorado. Now Lucky's is no more, and I know that the official line is that Kroger drove them out of business, but I think the fact that they turned the whole front of the store into a teeming fruitfly nursery had something to do with it as well.

What grocery stores NEED to be doing is closing to the public and hiring more workers and paying them through the nose to do well and (relatively) safely what InstaCart is currently doing poorly and very dangerously. You order on line and make a pick-up appointment. You drive up at your appointment time and someone who works in the store puts your shopping in your trunk. Or you walk up or bike up and they put it in a cart outside and go into the store again and you pick it up out of the cart and walk or bike off. Nobody who doesn't work in the store goes in the store. The employees are all bubbled together in relative safety. The customers are the hell outside where they and their microbial loads belong. The InstaCart employees are no more because InstaCart failed when all its employees were hired by grocery stores.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:19 AM on July 9, 2020 [40 favorites]


This is like a prematurely published obit about someone you don't give a shit about and then you realize that person isn't dead and now you kinda wish they were.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:24 AM on July 9, 2020 [11 favorites]


Around March, all the supermarkets in Stockholm closed their salad bars. Some have removed the infrastructure altogether, though a few have since brought them back; in most of them, though, the bars serve as slightly inefficient containers for packaged products.
posted by acb at 10:26 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


Over the pandemic I ramped up my vegan diet from 60% to 95%. I was hoping to check out salad bars when that's available.

I would enjoy the robot.
posted by doctornemo at 10:30 AM on July 9, 2020


Count me as another one who genuinely misses hot/salad bars. I was pretty bummed when I saw my local Wegman's had completely disassembled both - their hot food bar had been my go-to for lunch breaks for a couple of years now :( Pre-Covid I never had time to cook, and it was more affordable (and healthier) than other overpriced lunch options near my office.

Also miss being able to use salad bars for last-minute ingredients - I live in a household of two and the prepackaged produce in supermarkets is always way more than I need. Maybe I'm the only one doing that?
posted by photo guy at 10:31 AM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Yup I’m another one for whom the hot bar/salad bar was my go-to lunch place. OTOH, my job won’t exist again until a vaccine, so maybe hot/salad bars will be back then too?
posted by mollymayhem at 10:46 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


My local grocery store has an olive bar that used to be self-serve and is now pre-packaged but the other prepared foods were already behind counters where employees would get your stuff for you. That seems to be the easy solution to me.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:49 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's like that here too. The only self serve ready to go bulk food is (was? I haven't been in a supermarket in weeks) the olive bar. Which now that I think of it is kinda weird. Why olives and nothing else? Everything else is in deli cases and you tell the person manning the cases what you want and how much. That isn't a technique that lets you build the perfect leaf by leaf salad though.
posted by Mitheral at 11:00 AM on July 9, 2020


Mod note: Couple comments removed, one reply left. Casually invoking "the homeless" as a problem is dismissive and unkind to people experiencing homelessness, and we need folks to not do taht. I had intended to delete the initial comment when it was first flagged earlier and apparently missed the delete button with my click; apologies for the delay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:04 AM on July 9, 2020 [7 favorites]


Only one local supermarket here still had a salad bar and that was great for dressing up a head of romaine or bag of spinach. Now it's covered with a board and stacked with packages of those soft, frosted cookies that are so hard to resist.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:08 AM on July 9, 2020


MetaFilter: a blazing hot building full of dripping people

...

I miss salad bars. I miss Sweet Tomatoes especially, and they've been closed for years. I miss a place I used to call Questionable Chinese Buffet, which had a lot of bad-to-mediocre items but a few extremely tasty ones. I miss Mongolian barbecue, which is sort of a salad bar if by "salad" one means "steak, mushrooms and sweet chili paste." I miss occasional trips to the grocery store for its salad bar (yes, it was a "destination" sometimes).

I would totally use Sally or something like it. Sort of the Coke Freestyle machine of salad bars.
posted by Foosnark at 11:11 AM on July 9, 2020


"It's a living!"
posted by stevil at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


That Sally machine just doesn't look fun enough. I'm thinking more like a claw crane game with salad inside.
posted by oulipian at 11:19 AM on July 9, 2020 [21 favorites]


Wegmans had the most glorious salad bars, hot lunch bars...really, anything you could want. I will miss them.

Discovering Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace on 17 was a transcendental experience that year I spent rolling to/from Jersey City...
posted by mikelieman at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I like Salad bars. In my area they've always been expensive- more expensive than other lunch options. I love them all the same.

Oulipian, I would really enjoy a salad bar hook machine!
posted by Braeburn at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


Supermarkets first adopted salad bars in the early 1980s after seeing restaurants successfully introduce them a decade earlier.

I think the 80s was the last time I saw a salad bar in a restaurant. Are they still a thing?

None of the grovery stores around here have a salad bar.
The closest we get is the Safeway having, I guess you'd call it, a soup bar in the "deli" section.
Which, honestly, eating soup held at a questionable temperature all day seems riskier than taking home a salad that people have been pawing with their hands.
posted by madajb at 11:26 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


I will happily eat from the self-serve counter at Wholefoods but perceive the salad bar at our local regular person supermarket as too gross to touch.

I used to work at a bougie expensive place with a popular salad bar and the equipment itself was not able to maintain the items at a safe temperature consistently and the owners are too cheap to replace it. Every health department inspection was a game of roulette. (Given that poor level of attention to health stuff in Before Times, I'm glad they seem to be closed indefinitely due to the pandemic.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:28 AM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


My most regular lunch spot was a place called Olly Fresco's that is a Canadian chain with downtown locations in most major cities, built to serve the office crowd around a salad bar and a hot bar. They have some made-to-order stations, and some grab-and-go, but most people seemed to get the hot bar and the made-to-order stuff has low throughput. It was great; I loved their Caesar salad dressing, and they always had some deep fried thing like corn fritters or onion rings I could get a couple of as a treat.

I'm going to miss them.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:29 AM on July 9, 2020


I miss salad bars. I miss Sweet Tomatoes especially, and they've been closed for years.
Sweet Tomatoes still exists in California where it's called Soup Plantation, which is both mildly racist but also non-sequitur enough that I imagine them harvesting soup every time I go there and also up there with the Olive Garden in incorrectness.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


It’s IoT - the Internet of Tossed Salad!
(....no...not that kind....what the hell is wrong with you people?)

I can’t wait until the inevitable “hacked salad robot” news stories come out warning of the dangers of hackers being able to add pine nuts to unsuspecting allergy sufferers salads. (Lester Holt earnestly teasing us with “what you need to know tonight before returning to the salad bar”)

I love a good salad bar - especially when there are things I never get around to buying for some reason but really like (radishes and baby corns etc). I’d actually be ok with a robot salad - but only if I had some confidence the veges haven’t been sitting in there wilting nicely for the last week. Even better if they can dish out some nicely warmed fresh flatbread pieces on top to go with it though.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:34 AM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


In the before times my life consisted of long sessions at the gym followed by leisurely trips around a grocery store assembling a week's worth of meals from the salad bar before heading to the Actual bar for the rest of my night.

Maybe people like me needed to be rendered extinct, but as the person being rendered extinct, I would just like to say, it fucking blows.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:38 AM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


Souplantation announced in March that they were closing all restaurants permanently.
posted by Frayed Knot at 11:43 AM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


If salad bars go away, my sister-in-law is going to have to start cooking bacon again instead of just going to whole foods and filling up a to-go container with nothing but bacon from their hot bar which was vastly cheaper than buying uncooked bacon and actually, bacon reheats really well if you don't do it in the microwave.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:57 AM on July 9, 2020 [13 favorites]


instead of just going to whole foods and filling up a to-go container with nothing but bacon from their hot bar which was vastly cheaper than buying uncooked bacon

The hero we need...
posted by xedrik at 12:02 PM on July 9, 2020 [6 favorites]


I think the 80s was the last time I saw a salad bar in a restaurant. Are they still a thing?

The Ruby Tuesday chain still does them, although probably not right now plus which I think a chunk of them closed recently. If you can find an old-school Western Sizzlin' type stakehouse it probably has one.

There are state/gov't buildings here with cafeterias that have salad bars and if they go out of existence there will be much wailing among the employees.
posted by JanetLand at 12:23 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


We have (or had, who knows anymore) Sizzler here in California, which was a weird hybrid place where you ordered a steak or other protein thing and sides at the counter on your way in, but then sat at a table and had access to an enormous salad-and-hot-food bar. You may know them from this utterly bizarre promotional video.

I think there is a chipotle-but-for-salad type chain here (SoCal) where you tell people what to put in the salad, which would probably be slightly more popular than a Salad Robot since you can at least see the items you're choosing, but I think they were already in financial trouble from last year's romaine issues so I suspect this might be a death blow.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:36 PM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


The local Ruby Tuesday's, here in pandemic hotspot South Florida, has an operational salad bar, at least as of a couple weeks ago. Our local Golden Corral (all-buffet restaurant) is also open. I find the idea terrifying, but they are getting customers.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:03 PM on July 9, 2020


I'm still mourning the loss of Sweet Tomatoes. I love the concept of getting a huge salad with all the esoteric add-ons that I never keep at home. Portland has a few local salad restaurants where you can customize a salad as it's made by an employee, but it's not quite the same, and they don't have the delicious garlic-cheese bread stuff that Sweet Tomatoes had.

As for salad buffets in restaurants, I can't recall the last time I saw one on the west coast, but I can think of at least two places in small-midwest-towns near family. One is a local steakhouse just as described by Lyn Never, and one is a small pizza place, where you can add the 'salad bar' on to your meal. With that, you can create the salad of your dreams from the vast spread of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced onions, dry mushroom slices, and 2 types of dressing (ranch and ... ranch).

Our local Mongolian grill chain recently re-opened, with employees now dishing the raw ingredients rather than self-serve. My guilt led me to check it out last weekend, as I feel so bad for local restaurant owners. But I just don't know if this new model is sustainable. I can't imagine that they'll break even by opening. The amount of food waste has to be high.

I kinda like the concept of SALLY, and I hope it's not as prone to breaking down as indicated above. It seems pretty easy to use, and actually more beneficial to the supermarkets.
posted by hydra77 at 1:13 PM on July 9, 2020


I miss both Souplantation (Lake Ave by the new Vroman's hell yeah!) and Sizzler (they had a really good coupon) and I fear for the likes of Hometown Buffet. They're great for groups containing people all over the spectrum of pickiness and veg/omni preference. They also don't care if you sit with your family picking at random salad items for four hours, or eat six helping of soft-serve over lime Jell-O.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:56 PM on July 9, 2020


Sweet Tomatoes still exists in California where it's called Soup Plantation,

Which just died.
posted by zabuni at 2:45 PM on July 9, 2020


As for salad buffets in restaurants, I can't recall the last time I saw one on the west coast,

Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao and Chilis/Applebees/Ruby Tuesday cousin Claim Jumpers (also appears to have been killed by COVID) have/had salad bars.
posted by The_Vegetables at 3:08 PM on July 9, 2020


I still miss when Wendy's had their "Superbar". Salad. Tacos. Pasta. Everything that Wendy's shouldn't have. But I could get my normal burger or nuggets or whatever from the main menu and then add a taco or two if I was still hungry. But they must have gotten rid of that 25 years ago and I've never seen another fast food place with anything like it.

These days the only time I eat a place you serve yourself is when I'm back home for Christmas and my grandma wants to go to the Chinese buffet she loves. But I doubt that's going to happen again. I'd be shocked if that place is even open for business anymore.
posted by downtohisturtles at 3:11 PM on July 9, 2020 [5 favorites]


We had Fresh Choice here in Seattle up at Northgate. Lots of veggies, salads, etc., baked potatoes, and the never ending pizza buffet. Was great when we had young kids. Always wondered if Sweet Tomatoes was run by the same corporation, with different branding/menus based on location. They felt very similar.
posted by Windopaene at 3:56 PM on July 9, 2020


I came in to pour one out for Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes, too. :( Long live the best salad bar in California.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 4:08 PM on July 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid there was a Canadian chain called Bonanza that had a huge salad bar and a small hot table. You ordered an entree and paid as you walked in and then a waitress would bring it you later.

We used to go there and order an entree that came with the salad bar and then fill up on the salad bar and take the entree home. The truly miraculous thing about it, at least to me, was that right in the middle of the salad bar was a giant slab of cheddar cheese. It would start out the night maybe two feet high and a foot square and they would just whack a few steak knives in it and you cut off chunks of cheese.

The restaurant also had all you can eat soft serve ice cream but the cheese was better. I loved the ice cream but it didn't come in blocks that weighed as much as I did.

I am certain now, as a grownup, that that was the shittiest cheese that as little money as possible can buy, but as a kid the giant block of cheese was like goddamned magic.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:22 PM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Souplantation Are you sure they’re gone, and didn’t just steal another name from a Black Seattle restaurateur?
posted by condour75 at 4:46 PM on July 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'll be so bummed if they close forever. I've figured out how to make huge salads for myself for like 5$ at grocery stores. I can't be the only one who manipulates the system a smidge for cheap, healthy lunch.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 4:54 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


They still have Bonanza restaurants in...parts of the United States other than where I live. It was started by Hoss from the Bonanza TV show.

I, too, remember the cheese.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:26 PM on July 9, 2020


I never even realized that Bonanza was an American thing. There were just a few of them in towns near us, and none in Vancouver that I know of, so I assumed they were a small Canadian thing, not an American chain come to town. The only American chains we got that far North were the big fast food chains (McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and eventually Subway), we never had anything like an Olive Garden or Applebee's. We did eventually get a Denny's.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:19 PM on July 9, 2020


My god: all these comments and not a single tear for all-you-can eat Indian lunch buffet and the joy of returning to work ready to fall into a food coma?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:44 PM on July 9, 2020 [22 favorites]


I have done this many times and I can confirm it feels like stealing but, more importantly, tastes like bacon

I guess the salmon-worriers were right all along!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:54 PM on July 9, 2020


Reading this, I suddenly realized I haven't seen a supermarket salad bar for ages, even before COVID-19. So I googled, and discovered that they still existed until March, but not in the city. I wonder why? Maybe it's because there are so many cheap restaurant choices in the city, I bet a salad from any of the shawarma bars would be cheaper than one from the supermarket + you can sit down outside.
I haven't missed them, so for me, they can go. For those who love them, I hope a good solution is found, but I'm not sure Sally is it.
posted by mumimor at 1:27 AM on July 10, 2020


AFAIK, The Chart House restaurants have largely kept their salad bars.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:01 AM on July 10, 2020


The thing my college's cafe learned when they replaced their salad bar with Sally was that the robot breaks down fairly often and was out of order so often that customers stopped expecting to go there for a salad.
The article says the first machine goes online this week, so that's presumably a different, if similar machine, but my college's cafe couldn't even handle soft drinks reliably.
As one who has spent years fixing machines, I expect machines to break, and this one does not sound fun to fix.
posted by MtDewd at 6:10 AM on July 10, 2020


Maybe Sally's mobile app incorporated this but it would be nice if the robot could remember one or more custom salads tied to your loyalty card.
posted by Mitheral at 8:29 AM on July 10, 2020


I went to my local grocery store this morning for the first time in a few weeks and to my surprise the salad bar was 50% reopened, and some of the hot bar was too. Made me think of this post from (now) several days ago. I totally had it for lunch; as I think a few others have noted here it’s one of the easiest ways to eat healthy and to have it made how you want.

Related, this particular chain has removed most of its response to covid at this point. I think the masks and checkout barriers are here to stay, but most of the rest is gone.
posted by MillMan at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2020


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