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It is really interesting that health is just as important to your guests as taste. I know you do a great job with flavor at MAD Greens. Tell us about your food.

We owe our great taste to our ingredients. Our team makes nearly everything in-house and from scratch, including our marinades and dressings. We use only all-natural ingredients and use local, farm fresh and organic whenever possible. Dan Long, a classically trained chef, and I create all of our menu options but guests appreciate that everything is in front of them, and they can customize a chef-designed salad, Panini or wrap — or create their own meals using ingredients they know are fresh and good for them.

Today, diners have a real desire to manage their diets — whether they have to because of allergies, or they choose to for lifestyle reasons — and our meals are naturally right; they meet every type of need.

How about sodium?

Sodium content is definitely on people’s minds. Our soup is probably the only area we’ve had to adjust to lower the sodium, and we have reduced it by 50 percent over the last few years. We don’t use a soup base; instead, our base is made from fresh vegetables and bones, which provide a lot of flavor without as much sodium.

So what are your plans? You aren’t going to stop at 11 locations, are you?

We will soon be expanding into several other states, which we are very excited about, and hope to reach about 50 restaurants in the next three to five years. No pun intended, we’ve grown organically over the last eight years and have prospered because of our commitment to our local neighbors, guests, and the environment. So we’ll continue to grow as we find locations that meet our criteria — and most importantly — distributors who are collaborating with local farms and dairies. Having distributors who offer local products is a huge plus for us and for the industry at large.     

Contact Anita Jones-Mueller, M.P.H., at