Another healthy eating option is coming to Colorado Springs.
Saladworks, a fast-casual concept that specializes in made-to-order, entree-sized salads, will open this summer in the Broadmoor Towne Center, northwest of Southgate Road and Lake Avenue on the city’s southwest side. Saladworks will occupy a former Starbucks space at the shopping center.
Franchisee Carmela Wootan, an Army captain — soon to be a major — who’s stationed as a space officer at NORAD in Colorado Springs, will operate the location. Wootan said she’s targeting a July 27 opening.
Saladworks, founded in 1986 and based in Pennsylvania, has nearly 100 locations in 13 states and in England, according to its website. The chain is owned by a private equity firm and company officials have said they plan to add nearly 20 locations in 2019.
The Broadmoor Towne Center location will be Colorado’s first Saladworks and the second franchise for Wootan; she also owns a Smoothie King, 1801 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., that’s run by her dad and stepmom. A cousin, Nakoma Pratt, an Air Force master sergeant stationed in Egypt, is Wootan’s partner in Saladworks.
A 17-year Army veteran who’s scheduled to retire in three years, Wootan said her plan for retirement has been to focus on health. Food, she said, “is a very good entry into the health world, the health arena.”
Being deployed over the years to Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba gave her an appreciation for healthy eating, Wootan said.
“A lot of other countries, they’re really big on their produce. It’s the main part of their diet,” she said. “I enjoyed going to those restaurants where they focused on organic food that’s good for the body, the mind, the soul.”
Some restaurants, such as Panera Bread or even McDonald’s, serve small salads, but don’t focus on a salad as a meal, she added.
Saladworks, according to its website, allows diners to create their own salads, choosing from lettuce, kale, spinach and other “bases” and adding toppings such as vegetables, fruits, cheeses, dressings and meats. Customers also can select from several signature salads on the menu; the restaurant also serves soups, sandwiches, beverages and desserts.
Wootan said she was attracted to Saladworks because it attempts to mold the operation to meet the needs of its franchisees. At the same time, Saladworks says it’s launched a program for veterans that offers them a 50 percent reduction on the cost of a franchise fee; Wootan, the company said, was the first to take advantage of the program.
The Saladworks at Broadmoor Towne Center location will have 1,650 square feet and seat 30 people, with room for eight more outside, Wootan said. She’ll employ 20 part-time and two full-time workers.
Wootan also wants to have a program in place for young teens, which would allow them to volunteer during the summer or on holidays and learn the basics of working so that they’ll be better prepared for jobs when they’re older.
Saladworks will join other Springs-area restaurants — such as Tokyo Joe’s, Zoes Kitchen and Zoup! — that focus on healthy eating and fresh-food concepts.
“It’s a restaurant that adds to the depth of what we already have there,” said Dan Rodriguez, a retail specialist for commercial real estate firm CBRE who markets a portion of Broadmoor Towne Center. “It helps make the center more robust in terms of salad offerings. As we’re eating more meals away from home, we’re looking for some healthier options. This helps fit that target.”