I decided to take my family to Jason’s Deli for dinner.
It’s been…a while since I’ve eaten at Jason’s Deli. (My wife reminds me that we ate there the night before our second child was born, so that puts us at about 2-3 years. Pre-pandemic, in other words.) I was pretty excited about this: salad bar, fresh ingredients, hit up the gingerbread mini-muffins and apple slices a couple of times. Very cool.
We were confronted as we entered by a sign that said the salad bar is–I mean, I can’t even believe it still–the salad bar is now… single-trip only.
No more “all you can eat.” No more “lemme get just a little bit more of that pudding and those apple slices.” Nevermind the fact that if we’re being honest, most of us never really took more than one pass through that salad bar. It’s supposed to be all-you-can-eat! Jason’s Deli has given into the red wave of nanny-plate-ism, using the current forever-plague as an excuse to deny red-blooded, God-fearing Americans the right–the RIGHT–to have a mountain of cottage cheese and a multitude of saltine crackers! SINGLE. TRIP. ONLY?!? THE NERVE OF YOU, JASON!!!
But I kept my cool. I don’t want to end up on Youtube or TikTok in a “crazy customer” compilation. I may have given the cashier a minor bit of guff about it (“Is that true? Man, that’s too bad. Are they gonna change that? I tell ya, brave new world we’re living in. Ya hate to see it…”), but I would never cause a scene.
That’s fine, Jason. That’s fine. I’ll play your game.
You say one-trip-only. Very well. One trip.
…And it’s at this point that I wish I had taken a picture of my plate, which was a glorious 5-inch-tall heap of salad greens, veggies, 4 kinds of cheese, bacon bits, and ranch dressing; crested with onion crunchies and dried fruit and nuts; wreathed at the base of the salad mountain by goodly scoops of corn salsa, potato salad, cottage cheese, and THREE HARD BOILED EGGS. The heaping plate was joined by a side dish containing 3 gingerbread mini muffins, a 3-seed cracker, and croutons and pickles for my kids. (No croutons or cornbread muffins for me–I didn’t wanna get crazy.)
Seriously, I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture, gang. It was a sight to behold. And I ate the whole blessed thing, because all in all, it was a mostly-low-carb feast of vege, protein, and some (okay, not optimal) fats.
And my final summary judgment on Jason’s Deli, in light of all I’ve seen and heard and experienced this evening?
Hey, man, it’s still pretty solid. If you like salad bars, it’s worth going.
Just treat it like a college student hitting up the local Chinese buffet when the cafeteria is closed [he says, from experience]: Make sure to maximize your plate space. Go in with a plan. Think about how you will construct the salad for structural integrity and maximum value. And then go forth and execute the game plan.
*Mr. Jason, and anyone else in the “Deli” household who may be reading this: I don’t actually have a complaint. I like your restaurant. And I get what you’re doing with the new menu approach. I’m still a fan.
But just know that if the one-plate limit becomes permanent, I’ll make sure to get every last penny’s worth off of that one plate. Fair’s fair. Dave don’t play.