Rochester's new Saladworks

Rochester's new Saladworks in the subway. (Jeff Kiger/

Saladworks, a new restaurant choice in Rochester's subways, will start serving at 7 a.m. on Monday.

The new fresh eatery, owned by Kristi Pencille and Stephanie Sawyer, is located in 2,100-square-foot subway space under the Rochester Marriott Hotel at 101 1st Avenue SW. That’s the spot last occupied by the Weber & Judd drug store, which closed in February.

Saladworks, which seats more than 30, is a franchise that emphasizes healthy fare with a menu that includes custom-made salads, soups, avocado toast, grain bowls, wraps, sandwiches and other items. It is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to downtown employees and Mayo Clinic visitors.

“We hope to appeal to ‘fit cravers’ — people who value health and wellness. We think we’re missing the boat in downtown. It is tough to get a healthy option at some of the restaurants we have right now,” Pencille said in April.

The duo has a team of 18 to staff the new subterranean restaurant. The look of the quick casual restaurant will be clean “trendy” and “industrial” with an open layout, concrete floors and USB chargers at every table.

In addition to table service, take-out and "grab and go" options, Saladworks also offers catering choices. Pencille said this week that they have already received a lot of interest in catering, even before they have opened the doors.

Speed will also be a big focus.

“We know that our Mayo base doesn’t have time to sit down and eat … a 35-minute meal. We get that,” said Sawyer. “You can use our app (to pre-order) and be in and out of our store in less than two minutes.”

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 285-7798.

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