Its name references grilled sandwiches, but Grilla Bites' claim to fame is salad.
Priced by weight, the Ashland restaurant's salad bar features 30 to 40 items revolving around organic Romaine lettuce, spinach and spring mix. Croutons and most dressings are house-made, says owner Moni DuBois. Proteins cooked to order can augment any salad for an additional fee.
"No. 1, I think, is that there's mostly organic ingredients," says DuBois of the salad bar's appeal.
DuBois bought into the Grilla Bites franchise, based in Chico, Calif., and installed it on Ashland's Plaza in 2006. The eatery specializes in panini, soups and salads with organic ingredients served in a casual setting.
In response to locals' requests, DuBois continues to refine her restaurant, replacing the salad bar's "fake" bacon bits with raw nuts and seeds and recently adding fermented vegetables and fresh-cut sprouts. At $8.75 per pound, the salad bar straddles the midpoint of Grilla Bites' pricing but likely will increase this year, says DuBois.
Other favorites: Ashland Food Co-op, Ashland; Organic Natural Cafe, Medford