Ok, so I’ve been pretty busy the past couple of weeks, traveling around the Southeastern US, so I haven’t really had a lot of time to go out and eat at any of the places on my Charleston Restaurant wishlist. I’ve mostly been cooking at home and eating at all of my usual haunts. One place that I frequent at least once a week, is Verde. Verde takes up the space where Bruegger’s Bagels used to be, and is basically a giant salad bar. Now, historically I’ve been very anti-salad–I think people only order salads when they either A. don’t like the taste of real food, or B. are on a diet–but I actually really like Verde.
First of all, the space is really nice. It’s very clean and open, with a white and lime green color scheme which make you think of freshness, health, cleanliness, and nature. You start by ordering at the counter. You can choose to either build your own salad / wrap, or choose from one of the “Signature Creations.” The first thing you notice when you step up to the counter is the wall of lettuce. At least, that’s what I notice. Maybe you notice the 50 some-odd toppings and dressings you have to choose from. Either way.
Back to the toppings: Seriously. They have any kind of salad topping you could want. Unless you want something weird, in which case–move back to Seattle, ya Hippie. Laura always chooses to build her own salad, which is never the same twice. You get 4 ingredients included in your salad (while proteins and avocado cost extra, and each additional topping after 4 is an extra $0.50). They also give you a piece of bread with every salad / wrap. Here’s a copy of the menu, so you get an idea.
My favorite salad (obsessed is a good word) is the Mesa Verde (romaine, roasted chicken, grape tomatoes, red onion, avocado, black beans, corn, fresh cilantro, and tortilla strips with chipotle lime vinaigrette, finished with a fresh squeeze of lime). I usually don’t get the corn or tortilla strips (because… gross). I absolutely love their chipotle lime vinaigrette, it is so yummy. And the fresh squeeze of lime at the end just makes everything taste fresh and delicious. I freaking love this salad. I make it at home all the time (but it’s really just easier to let them do it).
You also get the option of getting your salad chopped or tossed. If you get it tossed, they basically stir your salad up and then put it in the bowl. I always get it chopped, which is where they take this medieval torture-looking device (like a double-headed pizza cutter), and attack your salad until it’s mincemeat in a bowl. That’s my favorite part. They charge upwards of like $28 bucks to buy one from them, but if you’re trying to chop a salad at home you can just use a single-blade pizza cutter. It literally works exactly the same way (trust me, I’ve tried).
Basically, if you’re on King Street and looking for a fast, healthy lunch that tastes as good as it is good for you, I highly recommend you visit Verde. Plus, they have a lot of cool, natural drinks to try, and they offer King of Pops popsicles (which are really good. TRY ONE). Also get their loyalty card–Buy 10 salads / wraps, get your 11th one free (I’m only 3 away!)
347 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401