The first Vinaigrette opened in 2008, in a funky adobe house in downtown Santa Fe,
but the idea was germinated three years prior, on ten parched acres in northern New Mexico that was slowly becoming a sustainable farm. Around the same time she was learning how to grow food in the high desert, with its scarce water and slim soils, owner/founder Erin Wade had the idea for a restaurant that served delicious and satisfying entrée salads—a place that made healthy eating joyful and easy. She began developing the menus and concept with the produce she was growing.
This synchronicity underlies the company’s ethos and operations today, with the original Nambe farm supplying seasonal products (mixed greens, arugula, kale, peppers, peaches, apricots, cherries, apples, tomatoes, scallions, basil, heirloom potatoes, beans, mint, and eggs) for the New Mexico restaurants and then composting their organic waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments for the garden beds.
Vinaigrette Santa Fe was followed by Vinaigrette ABQ in 2012, on historic Route 66, and Austin in 2016, under the shade of a four hundred year old Live Oak just off of bustling South Congress. What motivates our expansion is not drive for world salad domination, but a desire to knit ourselves into communities where we can be a positive and meaningful presence.
And while it is our mission to empower our customers to thrive, our approach to health is positive and deliberately chill. We think an overly prescriptive plan or dictatorial attitude about nutrition is at odds with real wellness. We care less about what you don’t or can’t eat and more about what you can eat—the amazing, beautiful, bright, sustainable vegetables and flavors—salty! sweet! zingy! spicy! nutty!—paired with textures—creamy! crunchy! crisp!—that make your palate sing. Balance is eating decadent things in proper ratios with pigment-rich, vitamin-packed ones, getting the most pleasure and delight out of your healthy choices.
Eat food, not too much.
Nambé, New Mexico
On ten terraced acres along the Nambe river, our NM farm is a wonder of agroecological farming that provides seasonal vegetables and fruit and farm fresh eggs for our restaurants. Soil preservation and rejuvenation and responsible water use guide us as we juggle the restaurants' demands with those of the land. We have recently added apple trees from Tooley's Trees in Truchas and are learning to make our own cider and cider vinegar. Coming soon: the farm will be available for private events and weddings!
Our retreat and farm-to-be in Bastrop, tucked in a looping bend of the Colorado River just East of Austin, is in the works! With plans for olive trees, 4 acres of raised beds for restaurant produce, state-of-the-art facilities for harvesting, composting and waste management, we hope to elevate and innovate the commercial food supply chain. Eco-friendly cabins, treehouse and bunkhouses will be nested throughout the farm, lodging for our back-to-nature tech detox retreat.