Two Pittsburgh women are taking a stab at rebranding the leafy green salad as a substantial meal for working professionals at lunchtime.

MIX Salad Concept, a Thrill Mill startup, has launched a lunch service delivering fresh, locally grown salads to businesses. It’s all about dispelling the notion of salad as a diet food and establishing it as a healthy alternative, say founders Lia Vaccaro and Rachael Bane.

“We know people in Pittsburgh like French fries on their salads,” says Vaccaro with a laugh. “We’re giving it a healthy twist, sending out a bold message that this is a lifestyle change.”

“You can still have a satisfying meal while consuming fewer carbs and avoiding that weighed down feeling,” she says.

They even have a tee that makes the point: “Eat Salad Bitches.”

Vaccaro and Bane met each other at Chatham University through the women’s entrepreneurship club. Both born and raised in Pittsburgh, they have a healthy appreciation for the budding food scene here, especially as it pertains to farm-to-table.

The MIX salad “rotating” menu is a feast of delicious colors and flavors with options for meat, seafood, vegan or just veggies. The Picasso is lemon pepper grilled chicken buried in romaine lettuce and purple cabbage with pillows of fresh buffalo mozzarella, vegetables and cashews. The Lefkada, a mountain of grilled vegetables, includes eggplant, feta and sunny lemon dressing. Prices range $13-$15 per salad.

All produce is harvested locally and from organic purveyors, including Freedom Farms in Butler, Clarion River Organics, Penn Mac and Vaccaro’s own fig tree and vegetable garden. Need we say more?

Businesses with 25 or more employees must commit to a three-month subscription which includes salad delivery every Tuesday and Thursday. MIX works with a dietician who is available on a consultation basis to ensure nutritional values are being met.

The service is initially being rolled out to businesses downtown and in the Strip District, East Liberty and Shadyside.

The duo plans to move into The Market Kitchen, a shared kitchen concept at Pittsburgh Public Market, in early September. Salads will also be sold at local coffee shops, the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturdays and through catered events in the near future. A Kiva Zip campaign is underway to help make it all happen.

“We’re bringing fresh ideas to the workplace,” says Bane.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...