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A salad bar stocked with a variety of ingredients.
Jason’s Deli lets customers customize salads to their hearts’ desires.
Jason’s Deli

Where to Find Chicago’s Best Salad Bars

After 2020, salad bars have returned

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Jason’s Deli lets customers customize salads to their hearts’ desires.
| Jason’s Deli

Salads have long been deemed a safe, albeit boring, choice. Pass on ordering a Caesar for the hundredth time and head to one of the following spots offering salad bars or customizable salads that buck the trend. They’re fully stocked with dozens of fresh ingredients for a healthy and delicious meal. The pandemic may have changed the way some of these restaurants operate but the end result is still the same: A bountiful salad that goes beyond iceburg lettuce and ranch dressing.

As of June 11, Chicago restaurants have fully reopened and the city has lifted restrictions on capacity, masking, and social distancing. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Chicken Works & Salad Company

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Flame-broiled chicken is the main headliner at this Irving Park restaurant, but customers shouldn’t forget to eat their greens. Complement the juicy and succulent poultry with a refreshing garden salad. The bar is loaded with a variety of veggies and priced at $8.79 per pound. Online orders can be placed here.

Salad House

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Tasty made-to-order salads keep folks coming back to this Lakeview spot for more. The combinations are nearly limitless as there’s a plethora of veggies, proteins, and dressings to work with. And with so many choices, it’s easy to enjoy something different and exciting each time. Online ordering is available here.

A salad of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheeses, and more.
Pick the ingredients and leave the prep work to the experts at Salad House.
Salad House [Official Photo]

Dom's Kitchen & Market

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The founders of Dom’s Kitchen & Market say that COVID-19 means the doom for all salad bars so inside their very first store (on the Lakeview/Lincoln border), they’ve set up a stall called the Plant Butcher for custom-made salads. Customers can even pick out their produce from the store shelves for workers to slice up and add to their meals.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

R.J. Grunts

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The original Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant doesn’t have the same glitz and glamor as some of the company’s newer spots, but it’s a reliable standby that claims to have been one of the first in the country to offer a salad bar. Just like when Rich Melman opened the doors back in 1971, diners today create their own hearty salads. There are 35 total ingredients to choose from but as a result of the pandemic, ordering is currently done via paper cards or online and the assembly of the dish is left to the kitchen.

Sultan's Market

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The Ramli family has been serving some of the best Middle Eastern fare in the city for more than two decades. Their beloved Wicker Park restaurant is a veritable vegetarian oasis thanks to first-rate falafel, dips, and an affordable salad bar that features 30 items. Guests can prepare a meal packed with tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, marinated veggies, and more for $6.99 per pound. There’s also Logan Square and Lincoln Park locations.

Fogo de Chão

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Believe it or not, the Brazilian churrascaria offers one of the finest salad bars in town. Most come for the fire-roasted meats but vegetarians also have plenty of options at the Market Table. Feast on fresh and roasted veggies and fruits, such as artichokes, eggplant, peppadew peppers, roasted beets, jumbo asparagus, papaya, and dragon fruit. There are other specialty salads, cured meats, smoked salmon, and cheeses as well. It’s such an impressive spread that carnivores who skip out will be green with envy. The cost for the market table only is $15 at lunchtime and $32.95 during dinner. Fodo de Chao has additional outposts in the suburbs.

A person taking a tomato from the Market Table and placing it onto their plate.
The Brazilian steakhouse caters to both meat eaters and herbivores alike.
Fogo de Chão [Official Photo]

Mixed Greens

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This salad joint has two downtown outposts and a long list of ingredients at diners’ disposal. Mix together enticing ingredients like artichoke hearts, roasted beets, hearts of palm, wasabi peas, and ahi tuna.

Sweetgreen

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The Washington, D.C.-based chain brought its fresh greens to town in 2016 and quickly became a dependable go-to for lunch. Boring, wilted salads are often the norm but that’s not the case at Sweetgreen. Guests fully customize their bowls using locally-sourced ingredients — such as roasted sweet potatoes, spicy broccoli, roasted sesame tofu, and burrata — and watch as it’s tossed in front of them. There are multiple locations and orders can be placed online.

A peach and burrata salad.
Sweetgreen is one of the most ubiquitous salad chains in Chicago.
Sweetgreen [Official Photo]

Beatrix Market

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An offshoot of popular all-day eatery Beatrix, this grab-and-go marketplace features a comprehensive salad bar that’s perfect for lunch. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland. Not when there’s Japanese eggplant, roasted shiitake mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, and much more to be had. A second outpost is located near DePaul University in the Loop.

A salad bar stocked with a variety of greens.
Beatrix Market’s bar has nearly everything imaginable.
Beatrix Market [Official Photo]

Just Salad

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A fast-casual chain with several locations in the Loop and River North, Just Salad provides convenient and healthy lunches to downtown workers. There’s a selection of seasonal and signature salads but if guests prefer to build their own bowls, they can do so with traditional produce plus premium add-ons like cauliflower and broccoli rice, oven roasted bok choy, Beyond Beef meatballs, and creamy vegan feta. Online orders can be placed here.

Jason's Deli

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With several locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, this fast-casual chain makes it easy to eat fresh. Pick from more than 40 ingredients, including USDA-certified organics. The build-your-own salad bar is priced at $8.69. Online ordering is available here.

A salad bar stocked with a variety of ingredients.
Jason’s Deli has dozens of veggies and toppings for guests to enjoy.
Jason’s Deli [Official Photo]

Sips & Salads

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This upstart near McCormick Place offers catering but has also branched out into the wonderful world of salads, wraps, and smoothies. Customers can build their own salad using a variety of greens, proteins, and even grains.

County Fair Foods

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All throughout the pandemic up until June, this grocer had been offering prepackaged salads. But now the self-serve bar is back. In the search for salad bars, it’s a notable oasis as the South and West Sides don’t have many plant-centric options.

Chicken Works & Salad Company

Flame-broiled chicken is the main headliner at this Irving Park restaurant, but customers shouldn’t forget to eat their greens. Complement the juicy and succulent poultry with a refreshing garden salad. The bar is loaded with a variety of veggies and priced at $8.79 per pound. Online orders can be placed here.

Salad House

Tasty made-to-order salads keep folks coming back to this Lakeview spot for more. The combinations are nearly limitless as there’s a plethora of veggies, proteins, and dressings to work with. And with so many choices, it’s easy to enjoy something different and exciting each time. Online ordering is available here.

A salad of lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheeses, and more.
Pick the ingredients and leave the prep work to the experts at Salad House.
Salad House [Official Photo]

Dom's Kitchen & Market

The founders of Dom’s Kitchen & Market say that COVID-19 means the doom for all salad bars so inside their very first store (on the Lakeview/Lincoln border), they’ve set up a stall called the Plant Butcher for custom-made salads. Customers can even pick out their produce from the store shelves for workers to slice up and add to their meals.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

R.J. Grunts

The original Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant doesn’t have the same glitz and glamor as some of the company’s newer spots, but it’s a reliable standby that claims to have been one of the first in the country to offer a salad bar. Just like when Rich Melman opened the doors back in 1971, diners today create their own hearty salads. There are 35 total ingredients to choose from but as a result of the pandemic, ordering is currently done via paper cards or online and the assembly of the dish is left to the kitchen.

Sultan's Market

The Ramli family has been serving some of the best Middle Eastern fare in the city for more than two decades. Their beloved Wicker Park restaurant is a veritable vegetarian oasis thanks to first-rate falafel, dips, and an affordable salad bar that features 30 items. Guests can prepare a meal packed with tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, marinated veggies, and more for $6.99 per pound. There’s also Logan Square and Lincoln Park locations.

Fogo de Chão

Believe it or not, the Brazilian churrascaria offers one of the finest salad bars in town. Most come for the fire-roasted meats but vegetarians also have plenty of options at the Market Table. Feast on fresh and roasted veggies and fruits, such as artichokes, eggplant, peppadew peppers, roasted beets, jumbo asparagus, papaya, and dragon fruit. There are other specialty salads, cured meats, smoked salmon, and cheeses as well. It’s such an impressive spread that carnivores who skip out will be green with envy. The cost for the market table only is $15 at lunchtime and $32.95 during dinner. Fodo de Chao has additional outposts in the suburbs.

A person taking a tomato from the Market Table and placing it onto their plate.
The Brazilian steakhouse caters to both meat eaters and herbivores alike.
Fogo de Chão [Official Photo]

Mixed Greens

This salad joint has two downtown outposts and a long list of ingredients at diners’ disposal. Mix together enticing ingredients like artichoke hearts, roasted beets, hearts of palm, wasabi peas, and ahi tuna.

Sweetgreen

The Washington, D.C.-based chain brought its fresh greens to town in 2016 and quickly became a dependable go-to for lunch. Boring, wilted salads are often the norm but that’s not the case at Sweetgreen. Guests fully customize their bowls using locally-sourced ingredients — such as roasted sweet potatoes, spicy broccoli, roasted sesame tofu, and burrata — and watch as it’s tossed in front of them. There are multiple locations and orders can be placed online.

A peach and burrata salad.
Sweetgreen is one of the most ubiquitous salad chains in Chicago.
Sweetgreen [Official Photo]

Beatrix Market

An offshoot of popular all-day eatery Beatrix, this grab-and-go marketplace features a comprehensive salad bar that’s perfect for lunch. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland. Not when there’s Japanese eggplant, roasted shiitake mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, and much more to be had. A second outpost is located near DePaul University in the Loop.

A salad bar stocked with a variety of greens.
Beatrix Market’s bar has nearly everything imaginable.
Beatrix Market [Official Photo]

Just Salad

A fast-casual chain with several locations in the Loop and River North, Just Salad provides convenient and healthy lunches to downtown workers. There’s a selection of seasonal and signature salads but if guests prefer to build their own bowls, they can do so with traditional produce plus premium add-ons like cauliflower and broccoli rice, oven roasted bok choy, Beyond Beef meatballs, and creamy vegan feta. Online orders can be placed here.

Jason's Deli

With several locations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, this fast-casual chain makes it easy to eat fresh. Pick from more than 40 ingredients, including USDA-certified organics. The build-your-own salad bar is priced at $8.69. Online ordering is available here.

A salad bar stocked with a variety of ingredients.
Jason’s Deli has dozens of veggies and toppings for guests to enjoy.
Jason’s Deli [Official Photo]

Sips & Salads

This upstart near McCormick Place offers catering but has also branched out into the wonderful world of salads, wraps, and smoothies. Customers can build their own salad using a variety of greens, proteins, and even grains.

County Fair Foods

All throughout the pandemic up until June, this grocer had been offering prepackaged salads. But now the self-serve bar is back. In the search for salad bars, it’s a notable oasis as the South and West Sides don’t have many plant-centric options.

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