It has finally arrived! If you are an Ann Arbor foodie (like me), you have known about Salads Up, a new salad shop opened by two Michigan grads, and have been anticipating its opening for months by now.
It can be classified as a fast casual dining format, much like Chipotle or GrillCheezerie, where you can build your own (fill in the blank) and pay according to what you get. The only difference is that it’s healthy, opening just in time for our New Year’s resolutions, that we clearly are going to keep this coming year.
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s look at the others aspects of the establishment besides just the food. When I walked in, one of the first things I noticed was how many hungry customers there were versus how small the space was. Granted, I did go during the rush hour for lunchtime, but the line (25+ people) was seriously insane! Customers even struggled to get in the door.
A second observation was of the atmosphere and décor. It was very obvious that the owners were going for a sustainable, healthy and organic theme. All of the containers were either compostable or recyclable. Even the free water was steeped with cucumber.
The final observation was brought to my attention by my photographer and dining companion, Kelly Ho. She commented, “Everyone here seems like they are from New York.” As a native New Yorker, Kelly noted that this made sense since these are the types of salad that you can get in New York. I had never heard of this but she explained that the style is defined by being able to choose your ingredients and having the employees chop them up together and throw them into a plastic to-go container for you.
Salads Up does have some recommended combinations of salad ingredients such as a Cobb salad, a Thai salad, and a Greek salad. However, if you know exactly what you like in a salad, the route to take is the build your own menu. You start with romaine, spinach, arugula, or kale, add four toppings and a dressing of your choice all for the bargain price of $6.50.
Let’s be realistic, though. Who is going to be satisfied with only four (mostly veggie) toppings? For an extra 50 cents per item, you can add as many more as you want and for $1-2 extra, you can add anything from avocado to shrimp to feta cheese.
From the extensive build your own list, I decided on romaine, shredded carrot, green apple, cucumber, grape tomatoes, organic dried cranberries, avocado, quinoa, feta, and candied walnuts with a shallot balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious. I honestly still salivate just thinking about that salad.
Don’t be afraid to go all out, because I definitely did. This of course bumps that reasonable $6.50 base price to a bit more pricey $11 for a salad, but in my opinion, the fresh, delicious ingredients were totally worth it.
In addition to salad, they also serve cold-pressed juices and daily homemade soups, served with Zingerman’s bread.
So what are you waiting for? Support some fellow Michigan grads while enjoying a tasty salad and patting yourself on the back for making a healthy choice for once.
Location: 611 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor MI 48104
Hours of operation: Sun-Sat 10:30 am – 10:30 pm