Started by teacher Ody Lugo and her husband, Kenny, a firefighter, Giardino Gourmet Salads opened in southern Miami in 2004. The menu features salad staples such as Ody's Toss and Thai Thai.
In addition to salads, Giardino's offers a wide variety of homemade salad dressings such as Sour-Guacamole, Creamy Cheese, Ginger and Tahini Curry. "Our dressings not only can be used for salads but for marinades in stir-fry's and BBQ's," Ody said.
The salads are prepared as ordered and customers can watch as employees build each one. The couple decided to open a salad concept as a way to educate consumers on the positive aspects of healthy eating.
In addition to salad dressings, the restaurant also offers homemade croutons, which are baked in-store and sold daily. Crouton flavors include Herb Parmesan, Garlic, Wheat, and Pumpernickel.
The location in South Florida was their starting point. Seven locations are now open throughout Florida and three more are scheduled to open soon.