I have always had a love for salads, but at a young age, I learned that in order for me to enjoy them, they must be chopped.

The thing I love most about chopped salads is the ability for it to be a lunch-dinner meal. I grew up in Westchester, NY, where a popular meal for lunch is a chopped salad. At the local Chop’t in my area, the line would be down the street, and my friends and I would sprint back to our high school campus, salads in hand, in order to make it back in time for class. It was so worth it. I would love the endless choices of lettuces, toppings, and dressings, and then the sight of the crescent-shaped chopper thinly slicing all of my mix-ins.

lentil, cereal, legume, pepper, rice, corn, parsley, vegetable
Katherine Baker

This ongoing chopped salad trend has made a huge impact on the Northeast part of the country. While working in Manhattan this summer, for example, I noticed the various salad chain restaurants, all fully stocked in toppings, to make any salad-lover's dream come true.

I also think what makes chopped salads such a quick and easy lunch-dinner meal is you are able to get creative when making your own salad or even purchasing one. This chopped salad craze has taken over chain restaurants as well, including: Subway, Quiznos, TGI Fridays and Arby’s.

Madeline Dennis

Since attending Syracuse University, I have found that my love for chopped salads has become more complicated, considering that the restaurants here do not chop their salads.

In preparation for writing this piece, I asked other Syracuse students their opinions on CoreLife Eatery, in Salina, NY, and asked them to compare it to their home salad chain restaurants. Most students said that Core is the closest thing that we have to getting a home salad, it's better than the dining hall, and even though the dressings taste fake, there is a fabulous drink selection.

Emory Granat, for example, who is currently a junior, said that during her freshmen year at Syracuse, she had heard rave reviews about this local restaurant called CoreLife Eatery, and that she had decided to try it. While waiting in line she felt like she was back home in her local chain salad restaurant due to the endless options of lettuce, toppings, dressings, meats, and more.

Madeline Dennis

When it was her turn to make her salad, she picked all of her favorite toppings: edamame, avocado, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, parmesan cheese and chicken. She glanced down at her phone and noticed an incoming phone call from her mom. She saw her salad get moved to the dressing station and she removed her phone from her ear and inquired, “Do you guys not chop your salads here?” The lady at the counter laughed uncomfortably and replied, “I am sorry, we don’t do that here.” Emory took her salad and sat down, a little disappointed that she would be eating large lettuce leaves, but still somewhat satisfied.

I have had a similar experience to that of my good friend Emory, in that I have found that while CoreLife Eatery is the best option here in Syracuse, it is not as good as the chopped salad places back home. Nevertheless, we are still regular customers at this establishment, as well as other local restaurants here in Syracuse.

Madeline Dennis

For those who are looking for the best chopped salads in the area, however, where every topping and meat is thinly sliced, Cugini’s is one of my personal favorites. Although it takes an hour or so for delivery, the way that they chop everything to perfection is truly amazing, and their salads are definitely worth the wait.

People claim chopped salads are a fad and that they will pass, but to me it is a lifestyle to be kept.