With the new Kaiser Permanente office opening across the street, Queen K Tesoro officials saw a new market emerging, one with about 80 employees, plus patients, all of whom might be interested in healthy lunch options.
Two weeks ago, the Kona convenience store unveiled a salad bar, offering patrons the chance to design their own fresh, healthy selection of vegetables, fruits, meats and dressings.
“Everybody (in Hawaii) lived their lives growing up buying their musubis from the guy on the street,” Vice President of Marketing Operations Nick Posey said. “It’s the same idea, refined.”
He said he’s never heard of any other convenience store with a salad bar, but Hawaii’s plate lunch culture made it a good place to give the idea a go.
Just a few weeks in, business has been good and customers are happy, Posey said. He particularly enjoys seeing the looks on new customers’ faces, especially tourists, when they walk in and notice the three-cart setup.
At 69 cents per ounce, Posey said the salad is a little cheaper than premade salads at grocery stores or other convenience stores.
Selections include four types of greens, including spinach; several chopped lunch meats; slivered nuts; tofu; beets; peas; onions; cabbage; garbanzo and kidney beans; corn; and many other vegetables.
Fruits on Friday’s bar included melons, pineapple and blueberries. Local avocados are chopped and mixed in a small salad, and several pasta salads also are available. There’s cottage cheese, too.
The salad bar is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, call 326-1988.
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