Sorry for the delay in posting as I got home late from previewing The Road (full review coming).
In DC, one of my favorite places to grab lunch downtown during the work week was Chop’t, a Create Your Own Salad shop transplanted from NYC with a Ford style assembly line and endless combinations. Imagine my surprise when I noticed an almost identical looking a la carte salad spot near my new work, Mixt Greens. I thought for sure they must be owned by the same people, but Mixt Greens is only in San Fran and Chop’t is only in NYC and DC. Since I neglected to bring my own lunch today due to the previous night’s escapades with G’s brother, it was the perfect time to try it out and make the comparison.
First – the line was out the door. This picture doesn’t even give you an idea since you can’t see that it snakes back and forth three times and I didn’t even get it at its peak. But, it moves fast, and it’s much more organized than Chop’t. The set up inside though is exactly the same – cold, sterile, bar spots looking outside, few tables inside to eat. But, because it’s in San Fran, Mixt Greens has outdoor seating. Winner? It was a tie. Though Mixt gets a slight edge for not being super confusing about where you’re supposed to order. I also especially liked how my salad maker asked if I wanted light, medium, or heavy dressing.
Yum. I ordered the Dagwood and substituted Soba noodles for the goat cheese. You can check out the dueling menus yourself, but Mixt wins this one for me. I thought the add-ins were much more creative, without charging extra for things like edamame a la chop’t. Plus they give you real homemade bread on the side instead of that disgusting tortilla thing. Winner? Mixt again.
Both companies claim to be fresh and local and sustainable and all that jazz. I will note that Mixt has compost in addition to regular recycling, but that’s also a typical San Fran benefit. From Mixt Web site:
Mixt Greens is an Eco-Gourmet® restaurant that serves environmentally responsible fine food.
Eco: our business puts the earth first from the food we serve (organic, sustainable, local) to the take-away containers we use (made from 100% compostable corn) to the spaces we occupy (built with renewable, recycled, and environmentally friendly materials).
Gourmet: our menu is the creation of executive chef Andrew Swallow, our food is prepared in house with the freshest, highest quality, organic, and locally sourced ingredients, we research the source of each ingredient to ensure it lives up to our high standards.
Chop’t has a running slide show in their actual shop that talks all about how local and fresh and organic their food is, but they seem to be less focused on the green aspect. From their Web site:
We opened in January 2001 hoping to bring something creative, fresh and health to the lunchtime scene in New York City, and eventually the rest of the country.
Every morning before we open our kitchen bustles with activity. We prepare dressings and vinaigrettes from our original recipes, which we tested on our friends and families for two years until they were perfect. We receive our daily shipments of fresh profuce, prepare and grill our meats and seafood, and roast our own turkeys.
Winner? Mixt AGAIN for their greening policy and I thought it tasted fresher.
Congratulations San Francisco version of Chop’t, you have completely won me over and I’m sure I will be spending approximately $10 a salad very often as I try out your amazing variety of flavor combinations. If you’re an East Coast fan of Chop’t, be sure to check out Mixt Greens if you’re ever in my new city.