Local gourmet salad kitchen creates a proud product

Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen has two locations, one on Sharkey Way and another in downtown Lexington. 

Jamilyn Hall

Walking into the Lexington restaurant on 1781 Sharkey Way, one sees the sign hanging that reads, “Integrity.” This is one of the first items that represents Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen when walking into the establishment.

“We have been able to partner with some farms and really be able to provide some sustainable business for them as well as keep a high quality product here,” General Manager of Vinaigrette Adam O’Donnell said.

Founded in August 2014, Vinaigrette, which is also Lexington’s first gourmet salad kitchen, has expanded to a second located in the downtown Lexington Square.

According to O’Donnell, Vinaigrette makes their lemonades and dressings in house. This year 25 percent of the restaurant’s products will be Kentucky Proud or directly impacted by Kentucky farmers.

“As far as salad dressings go, we make them all here. There is no caesar dressing being poured from a bottle back there,” said O’Donnell.

One of the reasons the owners decided to open the eatery is their own experience with fast, but not fresh, food.

“The owners of Vinaigrette are businessmen themselves and they are out and about a lot,” O’Donnell said. “Throughout their week they are constantly eating out, and one of the things that was a struggle was to find something to eat healthy, and quickly. So that was part of the motivation.”

A customer doesn’t have to necessarily love salad, or even be a fan to enjoy the experience. “If you aren’t a typical salad eater we don’t want you to be nervous and come in here to order something that looks crazy.” O’Donnell said. “So our goal is to have really great products, and then let you customize how you want — while guiding you to our menu where a local chef has made these recipes.”

Not only does the staff at Vinaigrette ask Lexingtonians to come and try them out, but they ask that people bring kids by to teach the next generation healthy eating.

“One of the things I am most passionate about is seeing kids come in, and parents bring their children in,” O’Donnell said. “Even if they don’t eat a whole salad, we just give them some vegetables on the side, anything to interact with things that we are growing in the ground and are not processed.”