The Sonoma Salad at SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza
gets its addictive quality from the restaurant’s
signature blood orange vinaigrette.
Finish with a fresh herb, such as parsley or
basil, and salt and pepper.
Another way to make a more healthful
dressing is to use yogurt in place of
mayonnaise or heavy cream. “It has acidity
and tanginess on its own,” Mereday says.
Also, pick healthier oils, such as extra virgin
olive oil or grapeseed oil. Rather than sugar,
add honey or maple syrup for sweetness.
It’s easier today to offer a consistent
dressing using fruit, thanks to the growing
number of all-natural fruit purées available.
At SPIN! the Sonoma salad has a blood
orange vinaigrette, made possible by a
blood orange purée.
SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza
TO SELL OR NOT TO SELL
Selling the house dressing can bring in
extra money and help brand your restaurant,
says Mereday. Yet some advise not to do it,
at least, in any advertised way. Homemade
salad dressing doesn’t hold up as well and
may only be good for two or three days, says
Wismer with Nestlé Professional, adding,
“Some ingredients, like onions and garlic
that aren’t cooked, can (shortly) taste bad,
ferment, separate or oxidize.”
Consisting of sea salt, pepper flakes
and additional spices, Paesanos 1604
also uses the blend with its fried-to-
order potato chips and in the olive oil
served tableside. It sells the spices in a
1 lb. container for $9. “We’re not out to
make money on it, but to promote the
restaurant,” McDaniel says.
and said they would be open to selling it in
the store,” she says. “We didn’t do that. We
wanted people to come to us to buy it and,
hopefully, eat here, rather than buy it there.”
To this day, Noone goes back and forth on
whether she made the right decision. “It
could have been great advertising for us,”
she says. But to go into full-scale production,
she would need another kitchen. Plus, the
dressing is highly perishable, and it would
need to be tweaked for a better shelf life.
Yet, when customers ask if they can
purchase the dressing, it’s hard to refuse.
The house dressing at Paesanos 1604
has pasteurized egg in it and needs to stay
refrigerated. The restaurant will sell a pint
of it at a time for $4.95 to inquiring guests,
McDaniel says. However, more confidently,
it sells its proprietary Italian seasoning
blend used in the dressing, and will give out
the dressing recipe for free with the blend.
At Sunlight Café, workers used to ladle
scoops of the dressing into take-out soup
containers when customers asked if they
could buy it. “Finally, when we’d make it in
the morning, we just started to fill a case
worth of bottles, and put on the menu at
the bottom that they were available for
purchase,” Noone says.
As it is, the lemon/tahini dressing has
been wildly popular. “It’s been one of the
cornerstones of our business for all these
years,” Noone says.
She had the opportunity a decade ago to
make a bigger deal out of the dressing.
When a Whole Foods store was under
construction nearby, the employees came
to Sunlight Café for lunch. “They loved it,
Jody Shee, an Olathe, Kan.-based
freelance writer and editor, previously was
editor of a foodservice magazine. She has
20 years of food-writing experience and
writes the blog www.sheefood.com.