A salad bar is a buffet-style table or counter at a restaurant on which salad components are provided for customers to assemble their own salad plates. Most salad bars provide lettuce, chopped tomatoes, assorted raw, sliced vegetables (such as cucumbers, carrots, celery and green or red bell peppers), dried bread croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese, and various types of salad dressing. Some salad bars also have additional food items such as cooked cold meats (e.g., chicken and ham), cooked beans (e.g., chick peas or kidney beans), deviled eggs, cold pasta salads, corn chips, bread rolls, soup, and fresh cut fruit slices.
There is a dispute over which restaurant first introduced the salad bar. A 1951 Yellow Pages listing refers to the "salad bar buffet" at Springfield, Illinois restaurant The Cliffs. Hawaiian restaurant Chuck's Steak House claims to have had the first salad bar in the 1960s. Rax Restaurants – a Midwestern fast food chain similar to Arby's – claims to have pioneered the salad bar in the mid-1960s. The New York Times claims that salad bars first began appearing in the late 1960s "in midprice restaurants like Steak and Ale, featuring bona fide salad fixings to keep customers busy and happy until the real food came." Restaurant entrepreneur Norman Brinker has been credited with inventing and popularizing the salad bar.
In the 1970s, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises was based on salad bar-style food. In the early 1970s, Rich Melman's Chicago restaurant and singles bar R. J. Grunts featured an all-you-can-eat salad bar with over 40 items. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, claims that the term originated in about 1973. Fitness expert Richard Simmons opened a restaurant devoted exclusively to salads called Ruffage as a complement to his exercise business. It later closed.
Types of salad bars
Customers pay for either "all-you-can-eat" salad bar, a single serving, or by weight.
Many supermarkets also include a salad bar (at which customers pay for by weight) in the produce or delicatessen section.
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