While in college and for awhile thereafter, there was a good chunk of time where I was all about the salad bar at the local supermarket (and occasionally the campus cafeteria as well). Twice a week, and sometimes more, I’d head over and put together a decently-sized salad with a lot of goodies. Then work became more travel, working in places where Stop & Shop wasn’t convenient, and that began to fall off. Sure, there were places like Au Bon Pain, but it wasn’t really the same for me.
When I first took my current job, which is based in New York, my dad encouraged me to explore the delis. As he put it, there’s great salads everywhere, and that bore out quite quickly. We had two offices on Park Avenue, and within walking distance of the office there were a ton of options. New York is full of trends around salads, and right now the big thing is chopped salads, but I found a standard deli salad was perfectly good for my purposes, so the search began for my favorites.
Over time I began to notice patterns in pricing. For many of the places, there was a starting price and a cost per toss-in item. This is the model followed by many New York-based chains like Guy & Gallard and Hale & Hearty. But I noticed the independent delis many times had better pricing and arrangements.
My favorite deli on Park was Eddy’s Eats, located at 27th and Park. They had a vast selection on their salad bar, and a large salad (including a protein and five additional toss-ins) was only $7.95. They ran specials regularly, such as adding a small soup for an extra $1. The food there was always fresh and delicious, so when our office moved in September, it was time to search again.
My current favorite is Crown Deli (and Sushi, it always says in small print next to the logo), located at 52nd and Broadway. They just renovated, and it’s as good as it was pre-renovation, with a vast number of choices and, of course, a salad bar. There, a large salad is $8.95 but includes two proteins and as many other toss-ins that you want. This arrangement has encouraged me to be a bit more adventurous, and try some new combinations, which has been both fun and enlightening. Best off, it’s right around the corner from the office.
More importantly for me, having such great options nearby has helped me eat healthier overall, which never hurts. But I’ve always been a fan of a good salad (although not quite in this way), and it’s great to have such options in abundance.