Centrespot's ballad to salad

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Melanie Smith tossing a salad

Jon Purdy

SHE'S A MEAN, GREEN, SALAD-MAKING MACHINE. Owner Melanie Smith tosses a salad at The Salad Bowl, a new food outlet in Centrespot that has proven popular among students.

You don’t make friends with salad"or do you?

Centrespot has replaced long-time food franchise Mr. Sub with the Salad Bowl, an independent, healthy choice for hungry students.

The Salad Bowl originated in the Covent Garden Market in 2005, and has gained a loyal following, owner Melanie Smith said.

“I think people are eating healthier,” she said. “We’ve been very popular this summer.”

The Salad Bowl was introduced to Centrespot on a trial basis in June 2007 and has since signed a permanent contract with Hospitality Services.

Laura Cayen, a first-year graduate student, was impressed by the nutritious alternatives available. “I did my undergrad in Windsor and the food was always terrible,” she said. “The Salad Bowl is much better.”

The concept is simple but innovative: customers choose from a selection of lettuce, vegetables, proteins and dressings to create their own customized salad or wrap. “They design it, we build it,” Smith said.

But not everyone on campus is excited about the Salad Bowl. Second-year King’s University College student Chris Furman had not noticed Centrespot’s newest edition. When asked if he would try the new salad bar, Furman said he preferred french fries.

The decision to support a local business rather than a fast-food chain was no accident. “We are constantly touring different food courts, checking out new and exciting concepts,” Kevin McCabe, associate director and financial controller at Hospitality Services, said.

“We were in the market one day, and came across a long lineup,” he explained, adding many of the clientele were student-aged.

When the 14-year contract with Mr. Sub expired, McCabe saw ample opportunity. “We spoke with the owner, and decided to give it a shot.”

Asked if McCabe was pleased with the decision, he said it was too early to tell.

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