Hoping to find a little healthy relief from the holiday season binge that starts Thursday and doesn't let up until New Year's Day? Check out the light bites at these new eateries.
At Tossed (4117 Davis Drive, Morrisville; 460-4449; www.tossed.com), you'll find just about every conceivable variation on a salad theme. This is not a salad bar, mind you, but a counter service restaurant specializing in made-to-order entree salads. Choose from more than a dozen house specialty offerings, ranging from Cobb to Apple Walnut to Cayenne Shrimp (with avocado, grape tomatoes, black bean-corn salsa and romaine in a citrus-chipotle dressing). Or design your own salad, selecting from a display case of more than 50 ingredients that can be, well, tossed in your choice of 20 dressings.
If you prefer, you can have your mix-and-match combination of ingredients wrapped in a freshly made, whole-wheat crêpe. Sandwiches are also available, as are a couple of house-made soups. Sweet-tooth rewards range from -- depending on how virtuous you're feeling -- freshly baked cookies to fruit salad with fat-free yogurt.
The Morrisville restaurant is the first North Carolina location of a New York-based chain. As local franchisee Jim Gaffney points out, Tossed is hardly your typical fast-casual chain restaurant. Produce is delivered fresh daily, for starters, and is washed and prepared on the premises. All the dressing is house-made, too. The restaurant doesn't serve alcohol but will allow you to bring your own bottle of wine for a $5 corkage fee. "We want to be a friendly neighborhood kind of place," Gaffney says. I'd say they're off to a healthy start.
Fresh ingredients and scratch preparation are also the rule at William's Gourmet Kitchen (2114 E. N.C. 54, Durham; 806-0690; www.williamsgk.com), a new lunch spot in RTP. Deli meat is sliced on the premises for sandwiches, which are served on freshly baked bread. Chicken breast is marinated and grilled in-house for the grilled chicken salad and chicken pita sandwiches. Burgers are hand-patted with fresh ground beef. Pretty much everything, in fact, from Grandma's Chicken Soup to tuna salad to brownies, is house-made.
The restaurant is the first for William Roumanis, but the young restaurateur has worked most of his life in the business. In fact, you might say that Roumanis has restaurants in his blood. His uncle is Lou Moshakos, owner of Taverna Agora, Bentley's and the Carolina Ale House chain.