America’s Best Salad Chains

Want a salad for lunch? These chains won’t let you down

Just Salad's offerings come in four categories: "Seasonal," "Value," "Health," and "Awesome."

When lunchtime rolls around, there’s no end to boring, unhealthy options. There are burgers, Chinese takeout, pizza, sandwiches, and plenty of other ways to put yourself into a food coma via a sad desk lunch even before you hit the 3 p.m. wall. For many of us, salad (and chopped salad in particular) is the best lunch option around, and thankfully there are some truly great salad chains out there.

America’s Best Salad Chains (Slideshow)

Sometimes a salad is the perfect way to get your lunch on, and there’s no shortage of salad chains to be found in most cities. Vegetables for health and wellness, protein to fill you up, and enough food to nix your hunger but not put you in a food coma are all good reasons to consider it. Salads are also infinitely customizable, so they’re ideal for nearly any diet.

These days, more and more salad chains are chopping up their salads, which we’re all for. Chopping the salad with a mezzaluna (a crescent moon-shaped blade with two handles, rocked over) allows all the components to get coated evenly in the dressing, creating bite-sized pieces with a little bit of each component in every bite. Some argue that the ideal salad is one in which there are large chunks of every component, so you can mix and match the flavors and textures with every bite, but the fact remains that there are lots of people who have jumped on the chopped salad bandwagon, and probably eat one every day of the week.

As the popularity of buying salads for lunch has increased, the number of places that offer them has expanded nationwide. Some of the most recognizable names, Chop’t and Saladworks, have spread up the East Coast and beyond, while many others remain regional favorites. We have ranked some of the most popular chains according to pricing, variety of add-ons, chopping method, customization, and green-ness of the chain. Read on to learn which chain came out on top!


Additional reporting by Rosemary Pantaleo.