Coronavirus has taken another victim and this time it's my all-time favorite salad bar and buffet. According to Sandiegoville.com, Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes are shutting their doors for good due to business uncertainty surrounding buffet restaurants during the covid-19 pandemic. It's time to pour out a soft-serve cone for our buffet buddies.
What is Souplantation / Sweet Tomatoes?
Opened in 1978 by founder Dennis Jay in San Diego, Souplantation (or Sweet Tomatoes if you are visiting the restaurant outside of California) is a buffet-style eatery that lets guests create their own salads from a large salad bar and dine on delicious soups. The restaurant concept eventually started to grow, and Jay sold the restaurants to Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp in 1983.
At its prime, there were over 130 locations across the United States. However, in 2018 the company filed for bankruptcy, causing about 30 locations to shutter. Now it looks like all Sweet Tomatoes restaurants and Souplantation locations will no longer be in business.
Each restaurant is set up the same, with the salad bar taking over the front lobby. Guests fill up their plates, grab a cup and pay at the cashier. Once in the dining room, guests can fill their plate with fresh focaccia bread, a daily selection of soups, baked potatoes, and for dessert, indulge in tasty desserts like chocolate muffins and soft-serve ice cream.
I went to Souplantation so much when I lived in San Diego! The soups, salads, Foccacia bread, soft-serve ice cream 😭. I had filling my buffet plate down to a science. RIP my salad friend. https://t.co/ys3zkRYd9l
— Lyndsay Burginger (@LyndsayEats) May 7, 2020
Growing up in San Diego, Souplantation was the place to eat dinner on the weekends. The line would be in the parking lot and you would always see a neighbor or a classmate at the soup counter. Schools held fundraisers, soccer teams celebrated games, families got together and spent the evening catching up over cornbread and tomato soup. The dining experience was always focused on the community, which made Souplantation such a fun place to visit.
So here's to all the scratch soups, the croutons, the blue cheese dressing, and the strawberry lemonade. I'm gonna miss ya.