HBO Vampire Sinks her Fangs into Chop Stop!

In light of last night's True Blood premiere, which had a ridiculous twist involving this lady/vamp (so you may want to watch pre or post this feature), we chatted with one of its stars, Rutina Wesley, who plays the no-nonsense beautiful human-turned-vampire Tara Thornton. We're letting this one speak for itself: All we'll say is, it's a Monday morning story you're going to want to sink your teeth into...(Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves...)

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

For breakfast, fresh fruit and a cup of oatmeal with almond milk. For lunch, a big Chop Stop salad, and for dinner, some protein and vegetables for dinner.

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June 23, 2014

7 Hot Salad Chains That Are Raising The Bar For Lunch

Why it's great: Chop Stop was recently named as one of the five best salad chains in the country by the Daily Meal. The restaurant offers five lettuce options and 42 salad add-ons, as well as 'Chopurrito Bowls' with a base of cilantro lime rice and black or white beans.

What's on the menu: Salads include the Kale Chop with chicken, eggs, feta cheese and Italian dressing and a heartier Chop-Zilla with chicken, salami, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, tortilla strips and ranch dressing.

How much: Salads range from $US8.49 to $US10.74.

Where: The chain has locations in Burbank, West Hollywood and Encino, Calif.

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February 26, 2014

Best Salads in the San Fernando Valley

Rating: 4/5
Affordability: $9+

The Chop Stop is a great, affordable concept. Their Cobb Chop, a twist on the traditional Cobb salad, was packed with diced avocado, bacon, fresh tomatoes and sunflower seeds tossed in a chunky bleu cheese dressing. Keeping in mind that their salads are chopped (as opposed to whole-leaf lettuce salads), the portion size coincided with the price. Although the Chop Stop is a little further from campus than Stone Oven and California Chicken Cafe, you'll be glad you made the 10-minute drive for a healthy, filling lunch.

Verdict: CCC's relative proximity and convenience to CSUN is as deceptive as their price point. Instead, take the extra dollar you would have spent on CCC's uninspired menu choices, go the extra mile and take a look at the menus offered by Stone Oven or the Chop Stop.

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January 2014

Dining In West Hollywood: The Flavor of Freshness at Chop Stop

In an era of huge portions, deep fried everything and popular artery cloggers like cheeseburgers and pizza, it seems like the perfect time to eat a little healthier - in fact a lot healthier - at a small eatery that opened not long ago on Santa Monica Boulevard. Chop Stop offers flavorful "chops" that are made to order and contain only the freshest ingredients. A chopped salad makes perfect sense - the ingredients are finely chopped so you can taste a little of everything in each bite. But Chop Stop is more than just a bowl of salad. The taste-tempting menu offers a variety of items with something to please just about anyone.

Tucked away in a small storefront that used to house a short-lived shaved ice shop called Snobar (and prior to that, Quizno's), Chop Stop is bright, colorful and inviting. Upon entering, pictures of menu items on the wall as well as eye-catching videos playing on a wall-mounted television trigger the taste buds. Glancing at the menu board, as well as seeing the fresh ingredients on the food line behind the counter, make it quite difficult to decide on just one item. Not to worry, as you can customize your chop to suit your taste. Simply pick your favorite green (or combination of greens), then pick six from a lengthy roster of toppings. Finally, select a dressing for your chop. Sure, you can have popular favorites like bleu cheese or ranch but, if you really want to wake up your taste buds, try the tangy Sesame Ginger or a personal favorite, the creamy and zesty Wasabi Delight.

Don't feel like building your own chop? Chop Stop has done the planning for you with a variety of "Menu Chops." Among them, the Viva Mexico Chop combines roasted chicken, cheddar cheese, tomato, black beans, jalapenos, tortilla strips and a creamy chipotle dressing. The Chop Stop Classic features roasted chicken, salami, garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Have a taste for something that really screams Italiano? The Sicilian Chop has salami, elbow macaroni, parmesan cheese, tomato, green peppers, pepperoncini and Italian dressing. Menu chops start with an iceberg lettuce and spinach mix, but you can pick a different green or swap toppings, if you wish.

Admittedly, when I first heard about Chop Stop opening in West Hollywood, I thought it would be just a place to grab a quick salad for lunch. This may, however, have become my favorite new dinner spot, as well. Chop Stop offers an alternative for those seeking something warm to eat with a clever little creation called the "Chopurrito Bowl." A bed of tender cilantro lime rice and black or white beans is topped with greens and a variety of Chop Stop's tasty toppings. The combination of the warm rice with the crisp, cool greens and the texture of the various toppings results in a dish that is tasty, hearty and satisfying. There are a number of Chopurrito Bowls to pick from, including a BBQ Bowl, Breakfast Bowl and even a Vegan Bowl. Any chop or bowl can be wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and served burrito style.

Chop Stop is not a large restaurant, but there is both indoor and outdoor seating. Service is fast and friendly and, since you can customize your chop or bowl to suit your taste, you are certain to get a meal that does not disappoint. Prices are quite reasonable, with most chops and bowls in the $7 to $9 range with a nominal extra charge for premium toppings. One hour free parking is available on Hancock Avenue, and delivery service is available ($15 minimum order; $3 delivery charge).

In addition to West Hollywood, Chop Stop is also serving up fresh, flavorful chops in Burbank and Encino.

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November 2013

The Daily Meal
Chop Stop was named one of the 5 Best Salad Chains in America!

Skipping to the left coast, Los Angeles boasts its own answer to the chopped salad craze called Chop Stop. Their chicken Caesar will run you $8.49 (we're guessing they charge extra for the sunny weather?) or you can pick from 13 other pre-planned salads. If you'd rather get more creative, you have four lettuce options and 42 add-ons, including more fruit than any other option (strawberries? Yes please!). You are also allowed to pick six add-ons to start, which seems generous to us! Those wanting light fare would do well to choose the 290-calorie Greek Chop, while those with a heartier appetite might like the 900-calorie Chop-Zilla. A huge point in Chop Stop's favor is their eco-friendly approach to packaging their food. The salads are packaged in 100 percent compostable containers, the cutlery is made from plant starch, and the to-go bags are Earth-friendly.

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The Fork Report

We got a great review from Neil Saavedra, host of The Fork Report, one of the top-rated local food shows (KFI-AM 640, Saturdays 2-4pm). Have a listen!

April 13, 2013

The Los Angeles Daily News Says:

The Asian Chop salad at Chop Stop

If you're in the mood for a chopped salad, stop by the just-opened Chop Stop in Encino (in a former Baskin-Robbins space in a CVS center). Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, order a custom salad (choose lettuces, toppings, etc.) or one of the dozen fixed salad combinations (such as Cobb) on the menu. Prices range from $6.99 to $9.24 each. Any of the salad mixtures can be made into a wrap. The first restaurant of the same name was opened in Burbank at 1001 N. San Fernando Blvd., 818-846-3560, last December. No liquor. A few desserts and frozen yogurt are also available. 17332 Ventura Blvd. 818-990-2400.

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The Encino Mom Says:

Looking for an amazing, fresh, chopped salad in Los Angeles? We found it in Encino! EncinoMom's Lisa Keating is there with the Encino Chamber of Commerce as The Chop Stop owner, Mark Kulkis opened his new store on Ventura Boulevard. Hooray! Join us for the virtual ribbon-cutting video here or try this fresh faire for yourself and be sure to follow us as we continue to highlight some of the great Tastes of Encino!

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Encino Patch Says:

Chop Stop in Encino is now open on Ventura Boulevard. Credit: Kat Mabry

Chop Stop celebrated the opening of its second location in Encino Tuesday morning, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and complimentary menu samples for the neighborhood.

The new healthy addition to the community's dining scene is located at 17332 Ventura Blvd.

The idea for the restaurant came to owner Mark Kulkis, 46, in June of last year when he found himself craving a chopped salad late at night, and wasn't sure where to go. He opened the first location in Burbank in January.

More than two dozen people helped usher in the new restaurant, including members of the Encino Chamber of Commerce and Valley Field Deputy to Council Member Paul Koretz, Jeff Ebenstein, who awarded Kulkis with a certificate from the City of Los Angeles.

"It's great to have something healthy and affordable like this opening in this economy," Ebenstein said.

Among the salad samples passed throughout the crowd were the Viva Mexico Chop, Asian Chop, and Caesar Chop. The Viva Mexico Chop is a customer favorite, according to Kulkis.

The store offers 12 chopped salads that Kulkis and General Manager Joey Gonzalez designed, but clients are welcome to create their own "chops" as well.

The menu offers each customer an easy three-step walk-through on "how to make a chop":

Step one: Pick a green.

Step two: Pick any six toppings from veggies, meats, and nuts to fruits, beans and cheeses.

Step three: Choose a dressing.

Once ordered and prepared fresh, the salads are packaged in containers that are completely compostable. The cutlery is made with plant starch and the to-go bags are earth-friendly as well.

The restaurant also serves frozen yogurt that can be topped with some of the chopped nuts and fruit.

Kulkis opened Chop Stop in the Valley because he feels it's underserved when it comes to healthy dining options, he said.

"If this does as well as Burbank, in another six to nine months, I'll open another one," Kulkis said.

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Eater Says:

Customers ordering delicious chopped salads from the Encino location.

Fast Casual Salads Come to Encino Via Chop Stop - After seven months of business in Burbank, Chop Stop owner Mark Kulkis is preparing to debut a second location of his chopped salad cafe. Tomorrow Chop Stop officially hits Encino bringing twice as much wiggle room and the same lunchy Burbank menu save for the addition of... can you guess? Froyo. Kulkis explains that "since all our salad toppings are chopped and a fair number could be transferred to yogurt...[there's] nice synergy." If eatery two proves to be as popular as eatery one, Kulkis plans to expand yet again in about six to nine months and keep going from there.

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Hoop LA Says:

Chop Stop (17332 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91316, 818.990.2400, has opened their second location (first being in Burbank). Now in Encino with the same Burbank menu plus (my fav) Froyo. Hopefully it's a success, and they can continue to expand like they want!

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The Tolucan Times Says:

Chop-maker Avy Chowdhury and general manager Joey Gonzalez busy at work.

Nestled in a stucco shopping center on San Fernando Boulevard is a new, fresh restaurant: Chop Stop.

The restaurant, which celebrated its ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, January 7, offers a wide variety of chopped salads, which owner Mark Kulkis recognized was a traditional, delicious meal option that was missing from the L.A. food scene.

"I was looking for a good chopped salad and couldn't really find one in L.A.," he said. "So I went home, made my own and came up with the idea to open my own restaurant."

A newcomer to the restaurant world, Kulkis assembled recipes, using his friends and family as taste testers. He incorporated their comments into his menu, which features 12 salads that vary from the Chop Stop Classic to the BBQ Chop.

But Kulkis insisted that the customer should be allowed to add or remove ingredients to his recipes and bases his menu on the idea that anyone can create any kind of salad he or she chooses.

From left, Burbank Vice-Mayor Jess Talamantes, Chop Stop owner
Mark Kulkis, general manager Joey Gonzalez, and members
of the Chop Stop team at the official
"Ribbon Chopping" ceremony.

The premise is simple: choose a green; a dressing; and then any veggies, fruits, meats, beans and cheese you want. (A customer can even add "crunch," which includes sunflower seeds, tortilla strips and nuts.)

Using set measurements, "chop-makers" combine these ingredients. The result is a perfect melody of complimentary textures and flavors, all combined in one bowl.

Joey Gonzalez, Kulkis' general manager, shares Kulkis' passion for providing fresh, delicious meals. Like Kulkis, he also recognized the need for such a restaurant.

"To me, this is an untapped market in the restaurant business," Gonzalez said.

A primary goal for Gonzalez was to make sure customers didn't wait longer than three minutes for their food.

"The production line is very specific, very streamlined, so that our customers can get their food as fast as possible," he said.

Gonzalez recognized the restaurant as not just a trend, but a serious addition to the food culture in Southern California.

"I told Mark when he hired me, 'If I don't take the job I'm going to kick myself because there's eventually going to be a Chop Stop on every corner.'"

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The Burbank Leader Says:

Salad maker Aby Chowdhury offers free samples to customers during
grand opening of Chop Stop salad bar on San Fernando Road
in Burbank on Friday. (Raul Roa)

Mark Kulkis went undercover for a little industrial espionage before launching his gleaming new specialty salad bar, the Chop Stop, on San Fernando Road in Burbank last week.

Kulkis was hired on at an entry-level job at a nearby chain restaurant that he declined to name. He took the job because he wanted a minimum-wage worker's eye view of restaurant operations.

"I wanted franchise experience, because that's what I hope to do," Kulkis said.

The Chop Stop serves up chopped salads with a variety of toppings and flavors, offering a health-conscious and price-conscious choice for customers. The store, in the 1001 North San Fernando Road center anchored by Henry's Farmers Market, opened to a crowd of curious shoppers and Burbank Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors on Friday.

The menu offers nearly 20 specialty salads. Customers can turn over their own leaf by selecting the greens, dressings and toppings - from almonds to edamame, or Cajun chicken to cucumbers - from an extensive list of possibilities. The restaurant also serves freshly made wraps and soups.

Kulkis said he found himself whipping up one interesting chop salad meal after another in his Silver Lake home, but when he noticed that they weren't on many local menus, he saw a window of opportunity.

"All my research indicated the time was right for this, especially in L.A.," Kulkis said.

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Burbank N Beyond Says:

Ever since I can remember, I have always been a salad person. Salads used to be special things to restaurants but in recent years have just become something on the menu that does not take much time or effort.

I, for one, am an iceberg lettuce fan. Every time I order a salad with iceberg lettuce, I get the lettuce with carrots and purple cabbage, which tells me they just opened a bad and poured it on the plate - it just is not fresh.
There's finally a place that has got it right. It's called the Chop Stop and is located at 1001 San Fernando Road in the Henry's parking lot. What's hard to believe that in a state like California, which is the 'fitness' state, that no one has come up with this concept before.
When you walk in, you get a chance to customize your salad the way you want it, with what you want in it.
It starts with the lettuce, and yes, the iceberg is fresh without the extras - just iceberg. They also have Romaine and Spinach.
Next you move to the toppings and there are 35 to choose from. You can have 6 and for a small charge, keep adding. There are veggies and fruit, meats, beans and cheese, and crunches that you can add.
You then pick one of the 13 dressings and within minutes you get a tossed, chopped salad that they claim you can eat with a spoon, although I still choose the traditional fork. The portion is good and filling and is given to you in a covered package so you can take it with you if you do not finish it.
You can also choose to have your salad made into a wrap which they make with a whole wheat tortilla. They also have soups.
The salad is mixed well and the last bite will taste as good as the first, with the flavors coming through. You can also tell that each ingredient is used liberally.
The Chop Shop is an idea that is long overdue and not only meets a quick lunch niche, but also gives you a great meal.

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My Daily Find Says:

Fast, Fresh, Casual: The Chop Stop just opened on N. San Fernando Blvd in Burbank. The theme? Chopped, of course! This fast casual eatery quickly prepares salads, wraps and soups with over 40 chopped ingredients of proteins, veggies, cheeses. Make it their way or customize it your way. 1001 N. San Fernando Blvd. #110 Burbank, CA 91504 (818) 846-3560 (just north of Burbank Blvd) Mon - Sun: 10am-9pm.

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Eater Says:

BURBANK- The fast-casual salad news never stops. Tomorrow Vice-Mayor of Burbank, Jess Talamantes, helps usher in Chop Stop, a chopped salad experience. Why butcher that salad? Because "when you chop a salad so fine you can eat it with a spoon the flavors of the ingredients combine together in every bite for a taste explosion." Check out the full menu here, head over tomorrow for some freebies. [EaterWire]

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