A salad bar is a place where customers can make their own salad. The buffet table or countertop can be found in many restaurants and supermarkets. Some of them offer a smorgasbord of food, while others offer the basics. Typically, customers grab a plate or a carry-out container and wander around the table or counter top, piling the leafy salad and its accompaniments quite high.
In some cases, the salad bar only provides the most mundane salad items. Iceberg lettuce, grated cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, and croutons, may be all that is offered. There will always be selections of basic salad dressings. For example, classic Italian, creamy ranch, and oil and vinegar will be available, regardless of the dullness of the other salad-making options.
In other restaurants, the salad bar seems stocked with endless options. Restaurant-goers can choose from iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or baby spinach. Of course there will be the usual suspects – tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, and mushrooms; however, there may also be baby corn, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bacon bits, hard-boiled egg slices, tofu, peas, and other vegetables. It is not unusual to find fresh fruit, homemade soups, an assortment of crackers or dinner rolls, flavored gelatin, and pudding at the bar, as well.
Occasionally, a restaurant or grocery store may offer customers a selection of pre-made salads through the salad bar, as well. For example, they can have bowls filled with Caesar salad, Italian salad, tuna salad, and chicken salad. In addition, they may have an assortment of deli meats, such as turkey, roast beef, and ham, for those who want to create a meaty Cobb or chef salad. Some offer pizza, hot pastas, and other warm dishes, too.
There are several ways that people can pay for eating at the salad bar. Many restaurants give customers an option of heading to the salad bar one time for a set fee or having unlimited trips for another increased fee. For people who prefer one plate of salad as part of their meal, the single trip is the best option. For others who want salad to be the primary portion of their meal, a limitless opportunity to graze may be bests.
In grocery stores, payment for the salad bar is usually by the pound or gram. Consequently, customers create their salad in a to-go container. The salad is then weighed upon checkout and the price is subsequently calculated. Since salad can quickly become heavy with plenty of vegetables, salad dressing, and cheese, it can become quite pricey, if the customer is not careful with her selections.