Above: (left) The Santa Fe, (right) Mexican Caesar
Yes, there are plenty of local places to get a good salad, but not on the eastern side of town and with this many tasty, low-cal options. One of the first restaurants to focus on salad as a main course, Chopt opened in New York back in 2001; The Riverside Shopping Center location is its first shop in Connecticut. Why are people obsessed with this healthy on-the-go option? The homemade dressings and quality ingredients stand out, including some local baby greens from Satur Farms in Long Island and Euphrates feta and Coach Farms goat cheese from upstate New York. “We’re looking ahead to a future where vegetable eating is the norm, featuring under-utilized varieties such as rainbow carrots or English cucumbers,” says cofounder Tony Shure. “Our customers are no longer shocked to find lesser- known and exotic vegetables like kohlrabi, jicama and chayote in our destination salads.”
Latin-inspired salads are the most popular because of their bold flavors and textures. The Santa Fe (avocado, corn, Vermont pepperjack, homemade fried onions and romaine) and Mexican Caesar (cotija cheese, jalapeno peppers, tortilla chips and romaine) are the menu’s suggested “First Time Favorites.” Every salad and dressing is listed with its calorie count, so it’s easy to choose lighter options (say Greek Tzatziki or Balsamic Vinegar at 20 or 15 calories instead of Balsamic Vinaigrette with 140). There’s also a hot-sauce station for kicking up the flavor without a big calorie bump.
SKIP THE FORK
Turn any salad into a handheld by having it wrapped in grilled whole wheat flatbread.
SAVOR THE SEASON
Once you’ve eaten your way through the core menu, check out the seasonal specials, which change each quarter. Right now they’re featuring summer produce in the Baja Corn Cobb and Rio Rancho Grain Salad.
EAT FOR A CAUSE
Chopt supports a number of food and wellness charities. For the Greenwich opening, the chain gave away salads and asked customers to make a donation, with all proceeds going to K4K (Kids for Kids), a group of local students who raise money for students in rural Appalachia. Whenever you order one of the kids’ Mighty Meals, the company donates 5 percent to programs that support healthy eating for children.
Creative Salad Company
1271 E. Putnam Avenue, 203-409-5811; choptsalad.com