In May, Nick Kenner, CEO of the fast-casual chain Just Salad, announced the death of the chopped salad, to the great dismay of many of his customers. “Chopping seems so 2006,” he told the Post. This was news to Mark Strausman, the driving force behind the clubby Freds at Barneys New York, who has been chopping, dicing, mincing, julienning, chiffonading, and generally converting vegetables and lettuce into conveniently wieldy bites for the restaurant’s signature salad for almost a quarter of a century. Strausman estimates that he’s slung over a million of them in that time and assures us that chopped salads are here to stay, at least for a certain constituency of gentlemen and ladies who lunch, no matter what the upstart chains have to say about it. In his new The Freds at Barneys New York Cookbook, he reveals the salad’s improvisatory origins (to please a demanding regular) and the lesson learned from that experience: When you make your customers happy, you end up selling a lot of $29 salads.
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Mark’s Madison Avenue Salad is on the menu at Freds at Barneys New York; $29; 660 Madison Ave., nr. 61st St.; 212-833-2200.
*This article appears in the June 11, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!