First Look: Salata debuts first Atlanta location at Atlantic Station

Billed as "the next generation salad bar," Salata recently opened its first Atlanta outpost at Atlantic Station. The inaugural location is the the first of 20 metro restaurants planned for the franchise portfolio of the Henry Investment Group.

Founded in 2005, the Houston-based fast-casual concept currently has over 65 gluten-free certified franchises in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Southern California, with more opening in Florida and Georgia, including a second Atlanta location coming soon at Glenridge Point on Johnson Ferry Road.

Guests queue up to choose from an array of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, seeds and nuts, plus chicken, seafood and vegan proteins, and house-made dressings, which can be combined and customized in hand-tossed salads or several styles of salad wraps.

In addition, soups served by the cup or bowl include tomato basil, broccoli, and chipotle white bean. A new self-serve beverage station with draft taps delivers house-made organic tea and signature lemonade flavors, such as tropical green, peach and prickly pear.

The 2,500 square-foot space at Atlantic Station is the latest design for the franchise, with a modern look that features all-natural building materials, stained wood paneling, white subway tiles, and a glass-fronted prep and serving line.

One sunny afternoon last week, the line was long, and the tables were full, both in the dining room and out on the patio.

“We’re very excited to grow into the Atlanta market,” said Iris Campos, the COO of Salata. “The 20 Atlanta locations are projected to open in the next three to four years. We always liked Atlanta, but we never had an investor.

“When we met the Henry Investment Group about two years ago, they had done business in Atlanta, and they were very familiar with the market, so that was kind of a match made in heaven. And we have no doubt that they will be successful.”

Campos said the the recent growth spurt has coincided with some re-imagining of the Salata brand.

“We’ve added the tea taps, which is something you don’t see in many restaurants today,” she said. “It’s kind of added a cool new vibe to our new locations and we’ll be giving all of our locations a little face lift soon.

“I think everyone is really happy with the way the look turned out, and the Atlanta location really shows how we’ve evolved in the past 10 years.”

Explaining the menu, Campos said the main things to understand is that each salad or wrap is “completely customizable” and that all Salata restaurants are certified gluten-free.

“When you come in to Salata, you’re not experiencing your ordinary salad bar,” she said. “We have four lettuce options that you can mix. Then the staff walks you through the line, where we have over 50 toppings made fresh daily, and you can get as many or as few as you want for one set price.

“But if I could brag a minute, our dressings are the heart of our salads. We have 10 signature house dressings that we produce in our commissary in Houston. They’re all gluten-free and made with the freshest ingredients with things like fresh ginger and fresh herbs. So from beginning to end, it’s quite an experience.

“Most of all, we’re a heath-focused brand. We encourage wellness by offering healthy, convenient options at a great price point. And I really do believe everybody can find something to love at Salata.”

265 19th St., Suite. 2155, Atlanta. 470-233-7164,

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