The Salad Maker opens on Market Street

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Jacie Dunkel opened The Salad Maker last week to provide fresh and quick salad options for customers seeking a sit-down spot for lunch or dinner. Photo by Tom McGovern Jacie Dunkel opened The Salad Maker last week to provide fresh and quick salad options for customers seeking a sit-down spot for lunch or dinner. Photo by Tom McGovern

In The Big Salad episode of “Seinfeld,” Elaine asks George to get her a big salad from the coffee shop. “What’s in the big salad?” George asks. “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs,” Jerry deadpans.

You won’t get enormous salads with gargantuan vegetables at The Salad Maker at 300 E. Market St., but you will find dozens of fresh salad options. Owner Jacie Dunkel, who also owns Tin Whistle Irish Pub and Fellini’s #9, says that while the Blue Ridge Country Store on the Downtown Mall has a great lunchtime make-your-own salad bar, there aren’t many places downtown to get a quick salad for lunch or dinner, and she wanted to give customers another option, especially one with seating.

Tin Whistle chef Karen Fiedler started developing the salad recipes before handing things over to Allison Campbell, previously of Zazu’s and Revolutionary Soup.

Salads are ordered via paper menus available at the door—once you’ve snagged one, write your name on the line and circle your special or classic salad of choice, or select your own components from a hefty list of greens, proteins, cheeses, housemade dressings and more. Then, take your paper to the Create counter, and pick it up and pay—$8.95 for a special or classic, $6.95 and up for a custom—at the Produce counter when your name is called.

There’s the North Garden, with spring mix, spiced almonds, goat cheese, dried apricots, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinaigrette, as well as The Crozet steak salad with romaine and iceberg lettuces, blue cheese, marinated mushrooms, tomatoes and blue cheese dressing. There’s also a cobb, Greek, Caesar and spinach salad, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a Palmyra salad: in-season ingredients sourced from many local farmers and City Market vendors—it’ll never be the same twice. All salads come with a housemade rye cracker. And The Salad Maker also offers a daily soup, made at the Tin Whistle, and homemade brownies and cookies.

Strike while the waffle iron is hot

How do you like your waffles? With a pat of butter and a drizzle of syrup? Smothered in fruit compote and whipped cream? Scalding hot and crispy brown after a moment too long in mom’s toaster (I’m looking at you, Eggos!)?

Come winter, your preferred waffle consumption method may change with the opening of Iron Paffles and Coffee at 214 W. Water St. At Iron, a paffle—housemade puff pastry baked to flaky perfection on a waffle iron—is a bit richer and more flexible than a waffle, making it the perfect vehicle not just for syrup, caramelized cinnamon apples and whipped cream, but for sandwiches, too.

In February, owner Kathryn Matthews plans to start serving eat-in and take-out paffles such as the Made of Iron, with sausage, bacon, egg and cheese; the Rise ’N’ Iron with blueberry compote, local hickory syrup and whipped cream; the Iron Master, with Southern fried chicken and mac ’n’ cheese; and various vegetarian options. Paffles will cost around $6 each.

Tasty tidbit

Monolith Studio’s chef knives were recently named a runner-up in the Home category in Garden & Gun magazine’s seventh annual Made in the South Awards, which celebrate and encourage Southern craftspeople.

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