SOMERVILLE, NJ – Disillusioned with the grind that comes with being an attorney, David Delinko has gotten a fresh start, preparing and serving fresh salads to customers at the Salad House, which celebrated its Grand Opening Friday, Feb. 2.
The owner of Somerville's newest restaurant, located at 58 West Main St., opened the door for a “soft” opening for family and friends two weeks ago; since then a steady stream of customers has been coming in to order customized salads from an eight-foot square, hand-painted mural that lists 75 menu items.
The restaurant creates fast healthy salads and meals that are made-to-order or signature salads that put a twist on popular favorites such as the “Greek Out,” “Eat Cobb,” “Stay Classy Caesar” and more.
“We serve health-conscious, comfort food that is personalized to suit the individual taste, dietary and nutritional needs of each and every customer whether they dine in or choose from our wide selection of catering options for their home or office family,” Delinko said.
Most menu items are gluten-free, according to Delinko.
Customers who prefer to be more interactive can punch in their order on a keyboard and watch their creation come together on a flat screen. The electronic “Create Your Own Salad or Wrap” stations enable customers to check off their selection of lettuce, vegetables, and other ingredients like beans, eggs pumpkin and sunflower seeds, crispy wontons, honey mustard pretzel pieces, chopped bacon, almonds, apples, mandarin oranges, candied walnuts, the House hummus and others.
The list also has "dine in" or "to go" check-off boxes and a “Keep My Salad on File” box that speeds up the ordering process on subsequent visits. The sheet also advises “Skip the Line, Order Online.”
“We’re trying to offer a convenient experience,” Delinko said.
The restaurant has seating for 20, and will have limited outdoor seating when the weather gets warmer.
Fresh salads are the specialty of the house, but Delinko and his staff also offer home-made soups, appetizers, sandwiches and wraps, flat bread, smoothies, fresh brewed coffee and tea, even a kids’ menu that features grilled cheese – bacon and tomatoes are an option; plain pizza, chicken fingers and fries, even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The Salad House is also equipped for corporate catering; prior to the official opening, Delinko had already put together three off-site events.
Fresh produce is delivered daily, and the bread is baked fresh each day and delivered from Calandra’s Bakery in Newark, considered as one New Jersey’s best.
Delinko takes pride in prepping the menu items in house; fresh bacon is fried and minced every morning; turkeys are baked every other day; dressings are homemade including Tamari Thai Ranch, Champagne Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Green Goddess, L’il Kick Chipotle and Creamy Balsamic.
“I make the brownies myself,” he said.
Whipping up a batch of brownies, ordering produce, walking customers through the menu and chopping lettuce is a welcome change from the intense world of litigation and representing clients which Delinko had done for years at a law firm in northern New Jersey.
“After a while I realized it wasn’t for me,” Delinko said. “It was a negative environment, a cutthroat world, if we won my clients were happy, but someone would always be unhappy. I was miserable.”
Ultimately, Delinko reached the point where he said “enough is enough.”
He and his wife, Caryn, who is a vegetarian, had discovered the original Salad House in Millburn and were regular customers. There are also Salad House franchises in Morristown and Westfield.
Delinko was looking for a business opportunity; the Salad House made perfect sense.
"People are taking better care of themselves, eating healthier. This is not something trendy that will be gone tomorrow," he said.
One thing led to another, and Delinko bought the Somerville franchise. He quit the law firm in February, and worked at the other Salad House restaurants to learn from the ground up.
“I’ve lost 25 pounds, I walk taller, I’m healthier, happy and I’m not the butt end of any more lawyer jokes,” he said.
Order online at thesaladhouse.com. Further information is available by calling (908) 203-5252.