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  1. Food

Best places to grab a salad on the go in Tampa Bay

We've assembled a great interactive to help you build a hearty salad without greens, but if you're on the hunt for a more traditional salad on the go, here are some restaurants worthy of a pop-in. Michelle Stark, Times food editor

Nature's Food Patch

Nature's Food Patch, a local healthy foods grocery store in downtown Clearwater that also has a deli and cafe, has what's referred to as a "colossal" salad bar, with more than 50 items including a handful of homemade dressings and daily from-scratch soups. Tip: If you want to know what's on the bar before you go, check the Twitter account @NatureFoodPatch, where the day's soups and hot bar items are often posted. 1225 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Mickey's Cafe and Organics

From spinach to sprouts to avocado, all of the veggies at the downtown St. Pete hole-in-the-wall are organic, which explains the higher price tag. Many salads are in the $10-$12 range, but in many cases it's worth it. Salads are large, and the presentations are unfussy yet thoughtful. It's a good way to showcase the bright and fresh-tasting veggies. Coat it all in one of their homemade dressings (the Gorgonzola is delish), and you're set. 318 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Boca Kitchen

This Hyde Park spot is making some of its salads with ingredients from a wall right in the restaurant where greens, herbs and more grow. Definitely try the Organic Spinach Salad ($9), with a goat cheese croquette, oven-dried grapes, toasted almonds, warm apple and Boca bacon vinaigrette or the Farmer's Heirloom Bibb Lettuce ($7), which tends to change depending on what they have on the wall. You can call ahead to have a salad made for pick-up. 901 W Platt St., Tampa.

Cafe Hey

Walk in and eat a salad at this hip Tampa Heights spot or take it to go. The Kale Yeah Salad ($6) is a favorite, a simple combo of raw kale and red cabbage, dressed in a garlic tomato dressing and topped with sesame sunflower "krunchies." There's also the Tuna Salad ($8.50), with sustainably caught tuna on a bed of greens. 1540 N Franklin St., Tampa.

Fresh Kitchen

Part of the Ciccio Restaurant Group, this South Tampa spot specializes in build-your-own bowls ($9.95 base price) that are effectively loaded salads. It's a Chipotle-esque approach: You choose which from a wide display of ingredients you want in your bowl, anything from coconut cauliflower to roasted Brussels sprouts to tuna poke. For a true salad, pick the Summer Salad Mix as your base then load it up with two veggies, two proteins and one of Fresh Kitchen's housemade cold-pressed dressings. A healthy take-out option. 1350 S Howard Ave., Tampa.

Locale Market

There aren't nearly enough build-your-own salad spots in downtown St. Petersburg, so Locale Market's salad bar has been a boon since it opened in 2014. For $9.95, you pick a base of greens, like kale or spinach, then choose eight toppings from dozens of choices including fresh fruit, farro, asparagus, candied pecans, avocado, beets, lots of cheeses and more. You can add a protein for an additional cost, but I never do, so filling are the eight toppings. Locale makes its own dressings, too. 179 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg.


A charming breakfast/lunch spot and bakery in Largo, fast-casual Frida's has a wide variety of more than a dozen salads on its menu. These are simple but hearty, like the Edamame Yum Yum Salad ($7.69) with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cheva (goat) cheese, edamame beans, red onions and pomegranate; or the Summertime Salad ($8.19) with romaine, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, carrots, roasted chicken breast, pecans and Asiago cheese. There are some organics and homemade dressings, like the raspberry or the Thousand Island. The best part? Most of Frida's salads are less than $9. 9700 Ulmerton Road, Largo.


Yes, it's a chain, but PDQ's chicken salad got rave reviews in a casual office poll. We recommend one of two options at the many fast-food locations in Tampa Bay: The Crispy Chicken Salad ($6.29), which includes crispy chicken tenders served over mixed greens, cucumber, tomato and mixed cheese with honey mustard dressing; or the Grilled Chicken Salad ($6.29), with grilled chicken tenders served over mixed greens, tomato, candied almonds and dried cranberries with a blueberry-ginger vinaigrette dressing.