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Sweet Tomatoes

faleentoby May 26, 2009 04:57 PM

This chain has yet to encompass the entire US but seems to be moving slowly in that direction. In some areas it is known as Souplantation. I am not fond of buffet restaurants, but this restaurant outshines any negative you may have in mind for buffets. They have numerous tossed salads, such as Caesar with Asiago and 2 others that change every few weeks. There are then about 30 or more items to 'invent' your own combination. Then come the pasta and potato salads. Choice of about 8 soups. Macaroni and cheese and 2 other pastas. About 3 different types of muffins and breads. Baked white and sweet potatoes. Focaccia breads with different toppings. Then come the desserts, Much of the variety changes every few weeks so it is best to go to their web site sweettomatoes.com and see what they are serving at any time. The price goes up slightly at 4pm and they add an extra dessert to the menu. There is a constant check on the temperature and freshness of the foods that are constantly being replenished. This is obviously not a fancy restaurant, but you can always count on it to have fresh, tasty, reasonably priced meals.

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  1. tracylee RE: faleentoby May 26, 2009 08:59 PM

    I've only been once, to the one in Wilsonville, OR, and thought it was fantastic for a buffet restaurant. It's just an odd place for us to stop to eat between Salem and Portland, unless we need to be in that area specifically.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tracylee
      smartie RE: tracylee May 27, 2009 07:05 PM

      we have them in south Fl, one in Boca and one in Coral Springs, excellent salad bar, good soups and cheap.

      1. re: smartie
        Alfred G RE: smartie May 30, 2009 10:13 PM

        There's one in West Palm Beach also (Palm Beach Lakes Blvd and I-95).

    2. s
      starbucksbrew RE: faleentoby May 30, 2009 10:49 AM

      I'm usually okay with a good chain, but I'm not at all impressed with Sweet Tomatoes, with just a few exceptions. The Chinese chicken salad is good, and a few of the soups are good. Most of the soups are salty and just a step up from Campbell's. The pasta sauces aren't even close to good quality, and every pasta-type salad on the salad buffet has vinegar in it, even the mayo ones that are supposed to taste creamy. I realize vinegar probably help them last longer, but so gross. And I can make better boxed desserts at home than what they try to pass of as bakery goods.

      5 Replies
      1. re: starbucksbrew
        danhole RE: starbucksbrew Jun 2, 2009 02:02 PM

        Maybe it is in the location, because I am not a fan of salt and have never found the soups at Sweet Tomatoes to be salty. The one we go to here in Houston is great. It is a very busy place so the food is always exceptionally fresh. I like most of the specialty salads, but the one with broccoli and raisins is my favorite. I've not tried the pasta salads - just not my thing. I'm not crazy about the pastas they have but the breads are really good. I don't eat the sweets, so I don't know about that. My grown daughters and I go there for Mother's Day every year, and I try to get there once in awhile, otherwise. The location just isn't that convenient from my home. If it were I would go more often!

        1. re: danhole
          ipsedixit RE: danhole Jun 2, 2009 03:56 PM

          This is a good perspective on Sweet Tomatotes (aka Souplantation).

          One has to realize that this is an all-you-can-eat buffet style restaurant that serves up generally (1) healthy options (2) fresh greens (3) fresh baked goods and (4) a large selection of decent soups.

          Plus, you get all this for around 10/person.

          Try ordering a prepared salad, a soup, and some cornbread at most restaurants for $10 .... probably ain't gonna happen.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            Caitlin McGrath RE: ipsedixit Jun 2, 2009 04:07 PM

            Not only that, but they frequently run discount coupons in Sunday paper coupon inserts that make it even cheaper.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
              danhole RE: Caitlin McGrath Jun 3, 2009 11:24 AM

              And if you join the Club Veg you get more coupons and a free meal on your birthday!

          2. re: danhole
            liveloveat34 RE: danhole Jun 22, 2009 10:16 AM

            i actually just boughtthe broccoli salad kit at costco, an entire huge kit for less than $2...it was near expiration and they were trying to get rid of theirr inventory. very delicious tho!

        2. l
          libgirl2 RE: faleentoby May 30, 2009 01:16 PM

          My friends and I like to meet there for lunch every so often. We live far apart and only get together 4-5 times a year. At ST, we can take our time eating and stuff ourselves silly.

          1. Honeychan RE: faleentoby May 30, 2009 01:27 PM

            Here in Las Vegas, there are 2 Sweet Tomatoes. I actually get a craving for them in the summer, what with the 110 degree heat and all. It's quick, light and tastier than many casino buffets, without the hassle of a casino. I've always enjoyed the one I go to, but my husband is just -meh- on them. Something about being manly, and wanting more red meat, or so he says. *lol*
            Hmmm..makes me want to go, right now, actually...

            1. Kajikit RE: faleentoby Jun 5, 2009 12:03 PM

              I love Sweet Tomatoes... I just wish that they'd offer a low or reduced-sodium soup option alongside their vegetarian, low-fat etc versions... Half of their soup recipes are so salty I can't even eat them. But the salads are yummy, their bread and muffins are good, and where else can you get a complete lunch that will fill you up properly for seven bucks?

              1. sebetti RE: faleentoby Jun 5, 2009 04:22 PM

                It's a good place to get a salad for lunch but I stay away from most of the other offerings. I'm not thrilled with their baked goods and their pasta qualifies simply as nasty.

                They do have adorable itty-bitty ice cream cone cups for the soft-serve that are perfect portions for my toddler.

                1. Honeychan RE: faleentoby Jun 19, 2009 09:52 PM

                  After my first post, that weekend I took the MIL to Sweet Tomatoes. She can be quite picky at times, but she -LOVED- this place! (but..she also loves Olive Garden, so think of it what you will...)

                  Can anyone confirm something for me: Didn't they, at dinner time, have someone walking around the dining room with warm, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies? I remember about 5 years ago, they did it..I told the MIL all about it, and when they didn't have the person walking around with the cookies, we were both bummed out.
                  I just want to know if it was a fluke or something!

                  When it's 100 degrees here in Las Vegas, Sweet Tomatoes is a welcome thing when you don't want to cook.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Honeychan
                    ipsedixit RE: Honeychan Jun 19, 2009 11:35 PM

                    Re cookies.

                    Yes, they did. It was a promotional way of getting you to buy the cookies in bags of 20. Didn't do to well and they generally phased out the idea.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Samalicious RE: ipsedixit Jun 20, 2009 06:56 AM

                      That cookie promotion is still going on in KC; when you buy the bag of 20 you get a
                      2 for 1 meal coupon.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        aztami RE: ipsedixit Jun 22, 2009 06:42 AM

                        I was at ST (Power / Ray in AZ) this weekend and they were passing out the warm cookies.

                      2. re: Honeychan
                        Claudette RE: Honeychan Jun 23, 2009 07:58 PM

                        They have warm cookies every time we go, (in Sunnyvale CA), and we go about once a month - more frequently during heat waves (it's REALLY crowded then, and on Mother's Day). I notice that the offerings at the locations in Tucson and Atlanta were ever-so-slightly different. Regional differences, perhaps?

                      3. littlew1ng RE: faleentoby Jul 7, 2009 04:41 PM

                        yes, i miss this place, there was one in my hometown and it was the post-church lunch many a sunday. a nicer version of souper salad.

                        1. h2Bn RE: faleentoby Jul 13, 2009 12:26 PM

                          We have several in South Florida. I hate buffets but love eating at Sweet Tomatoes. It is a (extended) family favorite for casual, healthful dining, especially for the kids who often opt to sit at their own table, and get to feel all grown up making their food choices without parental intrusion. The one in Pembroke Pines has a very friendly and most accommodating staff. A place where everyone knows your name.

                          Eating there has even inspired our own "Sweet Tomatoes Night" at home. I put out a large bowl of salad greens, then put individual toppings in separate bowls and yell "order up" for my kids to come and take each one to the table. So much fun.

                          I noticed a couple of years ago that the soup bowls got smaller. It was a smart move to avoid waste, since people tend to fill their bowls to the brim. It's true, the pasta bar is pedestrian, and appeals mainly to the kids--but the salads and dressing choices are really quite good.

                          In 1983 I visited a friend in San Diego who took me to a place called Soup Exchange. ST definitely drew inspiration from that place.

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