Another day means another restaurant deal as the swath of town north of Rittenhouse Square solidifies its reputation as Center City's food center.
Yesterday's news was the deal bringing Paris Baguette to 1717 Chestnut St. this spring.
Today's is the impending arrival of Just Salad, a New York-based quick-serve specializing in - well - more than just salad. It also sells wraps, soups, and frozen yogurt, dished out by chipper staffers.
Just Salad, whose request for zoning approval will be heard this week, has a lease pending for 1729 Chestnut St., now occupied by Knit Wit, a women's boutique. Be advised that Knit Wit, at that address for more than five years, is very much open; its last day is March 31. Owner Ann Gitter told my colleague, fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington, that she is looking for another Center City location.
Just Salad cofounder Nick Kenner said he hoped to open this spring.
These guys have heavy company. The storefront is across the street from Di Bruno Bros., three doors from a forthcoming Buena Onda taqueria from Jose Garces at 1735 Chestnut St.; and around the corner from the under-construction Tria Wine Garden (32 S. 18th St.).
Also note: Just Salad will be one block from its chief competitor, Sweetgreen, at 1821 Chestnut St.
This also is Grounds Zero, if you will, of a brewing coffee war: Saxbys is taking the southwest corner of 18th and Chestnut, while Konditori Swedish Espresso Bar, a New York outfit, has designs on two shops within a block of each other: one next to the forthcoming 10Below ice cream shop at 42 S. 17th St., across from Liberty Place, and another on 18th Street, south of Chestnut and opposite Saxbys. Then there's Joe, another New York java import, at 1845 Walnut St.)
Yes, the chains really do like this part of town, though the homegrown independents are plugging away, too. For now.
Kenner and childhood friend Rob Krespi - tired of the Manhattan casual lunch scene - founded Just Salad in 2006. They retained the services of chef Laura Pensiero to devise a healthful but filling menu based on organically grown, locally sourced ingredients. The first shop opened at 51st and Park.
The chain is now up to about 30 locations in New York/New Jersey, Chicago, franchises in Dubai and Hong Kong, and one random shop at Kansas State University.
Prices are reasonable, even by Philly standards. Check the current NYC menu here, which includes salads containing proteins for $7.99.
Just Salad's reusable bowls not only help with landfill space but entitle their users to two free salad toppings on their next visit.
Brittany Goldberg of MSC Retail handled the real estate transaction.