With an anticipated opening of March 25, Saladworks is moving to New England for the first time and settling into downtown Providence.
“There are over 100 locations worldwide,” owner John Pisaturo told me, “but most are in outdoor strip malls. There’s only one other in a standalone downtown location [in Philadelphia] – Rhode Island will be the second.”
John and his wife, Aileen Soriano-Pisaturo, are confident that the walkability of our downtown area and the restaurant’s location — at 75 Fountain Street, where the Providence Journal used to be headquartered — will garner heavy foot traffic. Just to be certain, Pisaturo bought a counter and took data for 10 days, at morning, noon and night, on weekdays and weekends, and discovered that 300 to 400 people were walking past the door every hour. He’s hoping to attract hotel guests, residents from local condos and downtown employees on their lunch break.
Saladworks first opened in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in 1986, long before the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles became common enough to merit a festival. It appears that the franchise is now, finally, “on trend.”
Those who are strictly plant-based, vegetarian, or — as Aileen taught me — “flexitarian,” meaning you’ll eat a greasy burger one day of the week, but will stick to healthier or plant-based diets on the other days of the week — will discover a satisfying meal at Saladworks. Meat-lovers among us shouldn’t worry; also on offer is pepperoni, chicken (buffalo, spicy peanut and honey bbq, to name a few), shrimp, turkey and bacon.
The main attraction is, of course, the salad bowl. You can choose from one of their signature bowls (Aileen recommends the Farmhouse Bowl, with roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash and glazed pecans) or create your own, with more than 60 toppings and 10 different dressings to choose from.
“So, it’s like Subway, but for salads?” I ask.
“More like a Chipotle,” John says.
In addition to green salads, they offer gluten-free grain bowls, sandwiches, soups and wraps (note: any bowl can be made into a wrap).
Saladworks will be open daily, from 11am – 9pm, with delivery service and in-house seating (with a WiFi bar), plus outdoor seating in the warmer months. Next time you’re in need of a healthy quick meal or exhibiting your freedom as a flexitarian, stroll downtown. “There’s something for everyone,” John says, “from the simple to the complex salad lover.”
Saladworks is located at 75 Fountain St, PVD. fb.com/SaladworksProvidence