By Clare Myers
At this time each year, graduation begins to be less a specter looming in the distance and more of a reality for seniors, and the panic begins to set in. We anxiously await acceptance (and scholarship) offers from grad schools. We send job applications out across the country. And many of us scramble to cross items off our college bucket lists.
As a restaurant reviewer, I have a foodie bucket list. And while I might not be able to get to every incredible restaurant in Dallas before May 17, I am definitely making it a priority to get to some of the more unique — and uniquely DFW — hotspots in the city. And one of these is in our own backyard. I am talking about Bread Zeppelin, the salad place you have probably been to many, many times. Since 2013, it has gained immense popularity among the student body at the University of Dallas and in the greater community, and has generated Internet buzz nationally. Despite all this, I had never paid the place a visit, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering roommate, a Bread Zeppelin devotee who has had to listen to me complain about the lack of stuffed baguettes in my life for months. Until just recently, that is.
Bread Zeppelin’s motto is “Salads Elevated,” and as I alluded to, its specialty is “zeppelins,” baguettes from Empire Bakery hollowed out and filled with the salad of your choice. Customers can order either a bowl or a zeppelin. There are a number of salads on the menu, ranging from the “Kale-ifornia,” which combines kale, roasted pumpkin seeds, currants and pecorino ($5.29), to the “Lone Star,” a mix of grilled flank steak, avocado, tomato, fried onion, jalapeño and an iceberg blend ($8.99). Patrons can also make their own bowls (starting at $6.99, with the first six ingredients included) or zeppelins (starting at $5.49, with the first four included) from an astounding variety of veggies, cheeses, fruits, extras and dressings. Adding protein, such as bacon or avocado ($1.19 each) or grilled flank steak or shrimp ($2.99 each) will run you a bit extra. The ability to customize an order is one of the most brilliant parts of the Bread Zeppelin concept, an aspect of many fast-casual restaurants that solves the all-too-common dilemma of finding a place where everyone can order something he likes.
I chose to build my own bowl, starting with a base of kale and adding artichoke hearts, black olives, edamame, grilled asparagus, kalamata olives and mushrooms. I topped it off with grilled chicken and crumbled egg, and a side of cucumber dill dressing. The whole order rounded out to about $10. One bite explained Bread Zeppelin’s popularity. The salad was delicious, with noticeably fresh and flavorful ingredients. It was also surprisingly filling. The salads are an enormous 48 ounces, and mine kept me full for hours.
Friends ordered the Southwest (avocado, tomato, corn, black beans, cotija cheese and romaine at $7.99 for a zeppelin with chicken and hanger blue or avocado ranch dressing), the Washington State (grilled chicken, apples, walnuts, beets, blue cheese crumbles and the Arcadian greens mix at $7.99 for a zeppelin with champagne vinaigrette or white balsamic dressing), and the Classic Caesar (romaine, shaved pecorino and housemade croutons at $7.49 for a zeppelin with chicken and Caesar dressing). All received high praise, and those who ordered the zeppelins raved about the baguettes.
While part of Bread Zeppelin’s popularity may stem from its customizability — after all, who does not like a salad when he is choosing the ingredients himself? — but I see no reason to argue with that business model.
Even though I can now cross this place off my foodie bucket list, I might not. That way, I have an excuse to go again.