Dude Food: An Interview With Nick Kenner of Just Salad
We’ve been dying to get more guys involved on BGSK. As you can image, having “big girls” in our name has been a bit of a deterrent for the male population. So we are starting a new blog category to host some manly food talk. We like to think of this section as the man cave below the BGSK kitchen. But it will also include female guest bloggers, including some of our own musings on the subject of men and meals. Topics will include dating, male mastery of certain cuisines (as typical as BBQ, or unexpected as salad), and awesome recipes from some of our favorite dudes. If you have ideas, become a dude food contributor!
For our first Dude Food post, we took a BGSK class trip to the 3rd Avenue store of Just Salad, the customize-your-own-salad franchise that has made boys and girls alike believers in lettuce. We donned gloves and hats and learned the way of the mezzaluna, choosing our toppings, mixing them up, and dressing them. In the meantime, we got to ask Nick, Just Salad’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner, some probing questions about salads, health, Just Salad’s reputation as a dating hotspot, and SaladMatch.com. Read on for pictures from our salad night and Nick’s sporting answers to our questions.
–Phoebe & Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS
Why do you think salad is often considered food for the ladies?
Healthy eating is often unfairly associated with being weight conscious or “watching your figure”. Nearly 45% of our customers are male and many of our male AND female customers eat at Just Salad because the food tastes good and they want balanced nutrition, not necessarily to just lose weight.
What’s the manliest salad you’ve ever put together at Just Salad?
The Buffalo Chicken Salad is real deal manly!
When you founded Just Salad did you realize it would be considered a place for hot young things to hang out? Did you see Salad Match in your future?
Ha. I really did not expect JS to be as social as it ended up being. We have never taken ourselves too seriously so creating saladmatch.com was a natural offshoot–it makes it even easier for people to meet at JS. Some stores are more social then others but we are really happy that people can have fun when they are at Just Salad.
Do you think men frequent your stores for the food or for the women? That 2006 New York Magazine piece sure made it seem like a mix of motivation.
Both! At the end of the day no matter how much you enjoy the service, atmosphere, value… your decision of where to eat is primarily decided on the food and we focus on the quality of our food way more then saladmatch.com!
But yeah, it doesn’t hurt that most men view our clientèle as “cute”. The weeks following the NY Mag piece we saw sales spike and A LOT more guys visiting our 320 Park Ave location. It was seriously a funny experience being in that store at that time.
Are you a salad slut–as in do you vary the salads you eat–or are you pretty much a monogamous, one-salad guy?
Just because I like to mix it up does not make me a salad slut!
Are there any toppings at Just Salad that are known aphrodisiacs?
No clue. This is a question for Chef Laura
Are there any salad deal breakers for you? Like if someone mixes pesto chicken with edamame will you still give them the time of day?
A great salad connoisseur once said never judge a person by their choice of salad toppings and I happen to agree.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, salad, or being a dude in a world of lettuce?
www.justsalad.com!!! Welcome to my world.