Heart healthy lunching pad & 52 choices
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
My thought was, if it was a heart healthy lunch day, Designer Greens sounded like the perfect spot to get the healthiest dish going – the salad.
The very cool restaurant name alone is a good reason to check out this Midtown lunch spot across from UF campus and The Swamp restaurant on University Ave.
My suggestion is to arrive early. My 11:25 arrival not only allowed me to be first in line but I also found a parking spot in the small very crowded parking lot of Gator Plaza, where DG has its salad port.
Scott and Eric, the tag team manning this lunch time starship, were standing behind the counter of this launch pad lunch line to a have-it-your-way salad universe that boasts 36 salad toppings, 5 different proteins, and 13 different salad dressings put together by choices you make in 5 steps.
Waiting to be asked for my order, I watched an open grill lined with chicken breasts being beautifully charred to presentation-perfect doneness. "When the day is over, we will have cooked close to 60 pounds of chicken," Eric said.
Then as I stepped up to the two LTSC (Lunch Time Starship Commanders), they began their ignition sequence to creating salads, soups, and flat bread sandwiches for hungry hoards that arrived en masse shortly after me.
I was having a problem with my decision making so I was relieved there were "Chef Designed" salads to choose from – 9 to be exact, including the Waldorf, Bruschetta, and my choice, the Mexicali Salad.
My Mexicali Salad was loaded with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, black beans, corn, multi-colored tortilla strips, and cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Eric topped this colorful salad with a tasty chipotle/lime juice salad dressing.
The DG has a half and half special: combine half a flat bread (FB) sandwich with half a salad. This gives you an opportunity to try one of their 9 FB sandwiches including Cuban, Tuna Melt, and Turkey Portobello along with one of the 9 salads.
The Designer Greens salad and sandwich shop was the perfect way to launch myself into a universe of healthy food. And even though it opens a world of healthy options, it's good to know that it is a Florida native: According to the menu, it was started in Orlando, and Gainesville is the 2nd one to open. UF students might be most likely to appreciate the fact that it was started by someone fresh out of college. If this is what colleges are churning out, there is hope for the world, let alone the universe.
I'm going back because I think a couple of those sandwiches were screaming out my name as I was leaving . . .
The Pluses and Minuses of Designer Greens:
Designer Greens (+) indicators: Who would think their could be so many great salad choices.
Designer Greens (-) indicators: Location, location, location . . .
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Designer Greens. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
When the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog decided meatless lunches would be the next GLOB FAB FIVE lunch out experience, my first thought went to Midtown's Designer Greens across from campus. With more salad choices than you can imagine, DG has a Half 'n Half salad and flatbread sandwich special I could eat for lunch every day. The friendly staffers behind the counter are quick to accommodate your request. My most recent Half 'n Half was the Avocado Salad and a half of the Chicken Pepperjack Flatbread Sandwich. It was at the suggestion of the 'Designer Greens Girl' that I substituted a portobello mushroom for the chicken breast. The pepperjack and mushroom combination made for a nicely spicy sandwich on toasted flat bread that satisfied all my protein needs. The melted pepperjack cheese did an excellent job of melding the earthy flavored mushroom and flatbread together into a gooey, flavorful sandwich. The DGG also suggested the Avocado Salad because it contains a lot of ingredients, including romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, corn, red onions, hard boiled egg, candied sunflower seeds, and goat cheese as well as the avocado. I not a big fan of sweet items in my lunch, however the orange slices and citrus dressing brightened this salad and presented the GLOB Master with a very fresh, surprisingly tasty, crunchy salad experience. Designer Greens is a no brainer for GLOBers looking for a Meatless Monday alternative.
- GLOB Master
- Phone Number: 672-6800
- Address: 1702 W. University Ave.. Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
- Web Site: Designer Greens
- Latitude: 29.65254
- Longitude: -82.344994
Naomi Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:53 Comment Link
I love Greens, Pita Pit, and Relish at the UF Plaza, but I rarely eat at any because they all have extremely difficult wheelchair access/seating. Cramped and difficult to negotiate the service lines. (Don't even get me started about the dreadful semi-accessibility of businesses on the upper floor of the Plaza.)
Ron Friday, 16 September 2011 10:36 Comment Link
I'm not a salad lover, but Designer puts together some good combinations. Always fresh, and huge portions!
Christina Rodenwoldt Monday, 28 February 2011 21:43 Comment Link
Designer Greens is great! Next week the same owners are opening a BBQ place a block from there called Kay Bros BBq. I'm looking forward to the food.