Owner: Jackie Riley
When did the store open? May 15.
Why did you open Greens & Grains? I’ve felt for some time that Alameda needed a fresh, organic choice. Not that there isn’t good food available, but I wanted to bring people back to the simplicity of good food made with nutritious, nutrient-dense ingredients.
We use 100 percent organic produce and all of our grains are organic as well. First and foremost, we try to provide a high-quality product. We buy local whenever possible.
A friend of mine who is a chef from San Francisco helped us develop the menu. The flavor profiles that we offer are a little more unique than what you might find in a grocery store.
What is on the menu? The ingredients in our custom-made salad area all come into our store fresh. None of our greens or grains comes out of a bag or a can. We prepare it all here.
For $7.95, you choose your base of greens, which can be a single green or a combination of three or four types. We also have raw kale, which I try to push since it’s a super food. Then we suggest a grain or a whole legume. Our grain selection includes quinoa, lentils or farro. Top with your choice of two vegetables, a choice of nuts or seeds, and dressing. Dressing choices are Caesar, Green Goddess, a Banyul’s vinaigrette (Banyul’s is a vinegar made from Grenache grapes), Greek or balsamic.
Each additional item after is 50 cents. Chicken or tofu is an additional $2.
In our ready-to-go area, we have between eight and 10 prepared salads daily.
For dinner, we have a daily special and a hot soup. There’s also rotisserie chicken.
[Editor's note: see mouthwatering photos of many menu items at http://greensandgrains.net/gallery.php]
Do you vary the menu based on what is in season? We are fortunate to be in a location where there are so many wonderful organic fruits and vegetable available to us, especially during this season. We try to take advantage of it. We’ve had some nice warm weather recently, so we’ve focused the menu on Nicoise salad and heirloom items.
What will we see coming in the fall menu? Some more substantial, stick-to-your-rib items — braised meats, squash, wild rice.
What are the most-ordered items on the menu? Hands down, our two best sellers are the quinoa salad with the ginger vinaigrette and the farro salad. Farro has a nutty, almost rice-like texture. Customers also order the Asian chicken salad and the kale Caesar a lot. Of course, the rotisserie chicken and chicken salad sandwich are wildly popular as well.
There are some items that look unfamiliar in the salad bar. How do you get people to try new things? I let them know that the ingredients are available. If they’re ordering a Caesar salad, I ask if I can put a little kale in there. Maybe next time, they’ll try a little more. If someone likes garbanzo beans, maybe they might want to try the Corona beans. All the ingredients coming together create great textures.
These little chia seeds are one of the latest additions to our custom-made salad area. They are very high in omega 3 and omega 6 and they have a cleansing effect.
Chia as in Chia pets? I’m not sure. They were very popular in the 1970s and since then have made a comeback.
What do you like about your location? I really, really enjoy the community of Alameda. Being in the Marketplace, I see a lot of regular customers and have been able to connect to people and get to know them.
Greens & Grains is located inside the Alameda Marketplace at 1650 Park St. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Telephone: 510-239-4059. Website: greensandgrains.net.