On Spruce Street, behold a clash of the salad titans.
Located just a few steps away from each other, Saladworks and Gia Pronto may feature similar menus, but their cultures are vastly different.
Saladworks is simple and efficient, one of dozens of franchises in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. A few steps west, Gia Pronto offers a menu infused with the European sensibilities of founder and Wharton alumnus Marco Lentini.
But lately, the healthy competition between the two eateries has escalated, allowing Spruce Street passersby to witness a war waged through chalkboard slogans.
Last month, Saladworks's sign advertised "no forms, no pencils, no paper," a not-so-subtle dig at Gia Pronto, which has customers fill out slips of paper when ordering salads.
This month, Gia Pronto shot back with a sign that reads "best salad in town - bar none."
Despite such tactics, management at each establishment claim not to care about the other.
"I guess it's like this unspoken acceptance," said Gia Pronto Assistant Manager Jennie Roach, who has worked at the store for about nine months.
"We just sort of laugh about it. I think we're beating them in sales," she said. "I don't want to dis Saladworks, though."
Because the restaurant has been on campus for four years, some seniors say it's played a big part in their Penn experience.
"GP's totally better," said College senior Allison Toppel, who has been a patron since her freshman year. "I like the chopped versus tossed thing."
"It is overpriced. But so is Saladworks," she said.
College freshman Rebecca Orel said she likes Gia Pronto's lack of pre-designed options.
"I think their salads taste fresher," she said.
Meanwhile, Saladworks has only been on campus for about a year and a half. But the owner, who said she goes by Mrs. Majid, thinks the store is gaining a following of its own.
"People love our paninis," she said.
Still, one can't help but notice that Gia Pronto usually seems to be a lot busier than Saladworks.
Whereas Saladworks caters to doctors and office workers in addition to students, Roach said that Gia Pronto's clientele is primarily Penn students.
"We have a lot of regular people that come here," she said, noting that groups of friends and sororities commonly come in together.
Staffers at both eateries are quick to point out what makes their salads best.
"We have really fresh stuff, and I think that people like that," Roach said. "They don't mind paying more for that."
But Majid thinks her shop's offerings are just as fresh. Customers "really enjoy the way we present it," she said.
Will this turn into the latest salad squabble between Saladworks and Gia Pronto? With lots of chalk and even more lettuce, it doesn't look like this feud is ending anytime soon.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.