The new Downtown lunch spot Simple Ingredients is just that | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The new Downtown lunch spot Simple Ingredients is just that

Salads and wraps are custom-made from fresh-that-day ingredients

Downtown lunch spot Sal's City Deli is known for its burgers and Reubens. So you might be surprised by owner Mike Tarquinio's new venture just around the corner: Simple Ingredients, a takeout lunch counter specializing in light, fresh and healthful fare like salads and wraps.

In the tiny but brightly day-lit storefront, the six signature salads, four wraps and a build-your-own-salad option are made to order while you watch.

"There's an inherent quality factor in seeing somebody make exactly what you want fresh," says Tarquinio. Everything from the lettuce to the 15 chef-made dressings is made or procured fresh daily, he says. There's also a from-scratch soup daily; come fall, there'll be two soups each day, with fresh-pressed smoothies also planned.

The super-foods salad was hearty, with grilled salmon, baby spinach, kale, tomato, red onion, broccoli, edamame and almonds, topped with a piquant tomato-basil vinaigrette. Other patron favorites so far include the chicken-salad wrap (with cranberries and almonds) and the Southwest grilled-chicken salad (including black beans, sweet corn, avocado and tortilla strips). Salads cost between $8.99-9.49, wraps $6.99-7.49.

Simple Ingredients opened just after Labor Day; it serves 11 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. Even with its lone sidewalk table, it's already successful enough that Tarquinio is planning more outlets Downtown. He thinks he knows why people like it: "The made-to-order thing has really opened my eyes."