While America may have exported the bulk of its manufacturing jobs overseas, more and more restaurants are adopting the assembly line model such as Chipotle. One of the more recent additions is Mixed Greens, fast food restaurant focusing on organic and healthy salads, Panini sandwiches, and pizzas. They have a location in the Loop at 175 N. Franklin and a second in River North at 308 W. Erie. For this review, The Chicago Traveler visited the River North Location.

Atmosphere

While in a prime area for lunch, Mixed Greens feels a bit like finding buried treasure. That’s partially because Mixed Greens occupies the basement of its address. You enter this industrial space with lots of steel and concrete, walk down the stairs, and enter a small, dimly-lit space that appropriately matches up with its food assembly system.

Salad-focused restaurants can often make you feel really lame. They’re always painted green with foliage everywhere’everything is really obvious. It’s actually kind of cool in a way for Mixed Greens to not deliver exactly what you’d expect walking in based on their name. Additionally, if you don’t want to eat in the restaurant or go back to your office, Mixed Greens has a cute patio space in the front of the restaurant.

I went for a weekday lunch around noon, and it was super packed. The line moves at a quick pace, though, to the extent where you really have to know what you want to order or the business people behind you are going to get a little angsty. If you’re a first timer, I’d recommend going with a friend who’s a pro, looking ahead online, or going at an off hour.

The Food

One of the main draws of Mixed Green is their build your own salad. They have a massive amount of options for you to choose from including different leaves, meat, veggies, and dressings. I was actually in awe of how much they had to offer. You’re not limited to just that, though. They have chef-created salads on the menu, along with made-to-order sandwiches and pizzas. It did seem initially strange for a place called Mixed Greens to have a pizza on the menu; I appreciated the variety. It can be hard to get a lunch group together to just go for salads, but Mixed Greens should appeal to a wider variety than similar concepts.

Little Italy Salad

For lunch, my girlfriend and I split a salad and a pizza. She picked out the Little Italy Salad, constructed with romaine lettuce, tortellini pasta, spicy giardiniera, plum tomatoes, mozzarella, and black olives’ with Italian vinaigrette as the dressing. The salad was ready in just a few minutes. The portion size was more than enough for one person to eat a full meal and great for splitting if you want to do your own sandwich/pizza/salad combo. All the ingredients were quite fresh: there was no brown or translucent lettuce. The Italian dressing was also well balanced’not too much, not too little’and well composed.

little italy salad at Mixed Greens in River North Chicago

6 Cheese Pizza

You wouldn’t think a place called Mixed Greens would serve pizza and it would be good, but it’s 2015 and anything’s possible. The pizzas, like the sandwiches, are made to order, so expect a little bit more of a wait than the salads; I think my pizza took about 10 minutes.

Size wise, the pizza is definitely suited to sharing unless you’re super hungry. The crust is somewhere in the middle ground between thin and pan crust. It’s a little crispy, but more soft and chewy. On top, the pizza was loaded with cheesy goodness. Altogether, it tasted kind of like a comforting, gourmet version of Pizza Hut. FYI, the pizzas are only available at the River North location.

Bottom Line

Mixed Greens is part of growing trend of restaurants challenging what fast food can be. Here you can put together a healthy salad with high quality ingredients that’s ready quickly and doesn’t cost too much. And unlike similar salad-focused concepts, they provide plenty of variety on the menu so you can stop by when you’re feeling a meatball Panini or a veggie pizza.

Mixed Greens Chicago
RIVER NORTH ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ THE LOOP
(312) 888-3044 ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘(312) 888-3044
308 W Erie St Chicago, IL 60654 ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ 308 W Erie St Chicago, IL 60654
Hours: M-Sa 11am – 8pm ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Hours: M-Sa 11am – 8pm

 

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