Before we officially moved to Utah, Husband and I were living out of hotels or with family/friends in Oregon, Arizona, and Utah, which is about as fun as it sounds. In one visit to our current town, my best friend, R, and I made plans to do lunch together. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat that particular day, but when she suggested a soup/sandwich/salad place, I felt less than enthused. But she said it was one of her favorite restaurants and I knew I’d probably manage to find something delicious on the menu, so I headed over to meet her.

It was when I walked in the front door that I realized my previous assumptions (based upon absolutely…nothing) were completely wrong. It was bright and colorful and everyone was friendly and there were more than 30 menu items just waiting for me. To say Zupas is a soup/sandwich/salad place is an understatement. In fact, Zupas puts all soup/sandwich/salad places to shame with the vast variety, fresh ingredients, and a Try 2 Combo that allows you to really maximize your experience.

Since that first visit, I’ve ordered everything on the menu, with exception of three sandwiches and two soups, and that’s mostly due to the fact that they added, well, three new sandwiches to the menu. I get things done.

It’s pretty rare that I don’t order a salad with my sandwich or soup — salad is one of my favorite foods in the world. I’ve been working, for the past several years, on figuring out the highest number of ingredients you can add to a salad before it’s a ruined mess. I’ve managed to get to over 20, but I’m not stopping till I have a firm number. I’ll keep you posted.

The difficulty in figuring out the best salad I’ve ever eaten, after having all twelve options at Zupa’s, is that it’s based on taste preference, ingredient choices, and how I’m feeling on that particular day. Do I want something sweet? Nutty? Extra crunchy? Savory? Spicy? Because you can get all that and more. Their most popular seller is called Nuts About Berries; crisp romaine mixed with a poppyseed dressing and topped with three types of berries (straw, blue, and black, to be specific), and sweet, salty, crunchy cinnamon almonds. There was a period of time when it was my favorite, and for good reason — cinnamon almonds make everything better, berries are sweet and juicy and packed with antioxidants, and the poppyseed dressing compliments all the ingredients perfectly.

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Look at that beautiful salad. I might need to eat one sometime this week. But each time I ate at Zupa’s, I found a new favorite. It seems a little cheaty, but I simply can’t leave out one of the four salads that I’ve decided are the best salads I’ve ever eaten. You take your first bite and the fresh, crisp lettuce is so refreshing, mixed with one of their many housemade vinaigrettes (maple? raspberry? strawberry? sure, why not) or creamy ranch, and all the extra ingredients turn that plain lettuce into something spectacular. A salad to fit my every mood; that’s no small feat. And so, an array of salads (from l to r, Summer Chicken Salad, Thai Peanut Chicken Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad, and Maple Vermont Blueberry Salad):

used with permission

A former boss (man) once told me he didn’t eat at Zupas very often because it was chick food. Well, that may be the case, and if it is, then let us all sing the praises of chick food because it’s really, really delicious. And it’s some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.