He opened Saladworks and Frutta Bowls at Crosswinds Mall on Orchard Lake Road in December, creating 15 new jobs.
Justin Hiller grew up in the food business, at the supermarket chain his late grandfather Sidney Hiller started, and his father, Jim Hiller, ran for decades. Now Justin Hiller, former VP of Hiller’s Markets, has returned to the retail food industry, bringing a new healthy fast-food concept to Metro Detroit.
He opened Saladworks and Frutta Bowls at Crosswinds Mall on Orchard Lake Road in December, creating 15 new jobs. The 2,000-square-foot location is the first co-branded restaurant of its kind, bringing two Philadelphia-based franchises together under one roof. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone craving made-to-order salads, Acai bowls, wraps, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, panini melts, protein bites and more.
“I was drawn to Saladworks and Frutta Bowls because they’re all about being original, and there are so many amazing options to choose from,” Hiller said. “Our ‘build-your-own’ salads are the most popular by far.”
Hiller, 40, of Bloomfield Hills is married with two young children. He and his wife, Laurie Hughet-Hiller, an award-winning architect, are raising two boys, Ethan and Wyatt, ages 6 and 3.
His family helped to feed more than three generations of Jewish shoppers dating back to 1941 when Hiller’s first opened in Berkley. The supermarket chain once had more than 1,200 employees and seven locations: West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor, Northville, Plymouth, South Lyon, Commerce Township and Union Lake. Hiller’s was sold to Kroger in 2015. After that, Justin worked with Gleaners Community Food Bank to help launch a neighborhood mobile grocery program and as a stewardship administrator.
“The food service industry has played an integral role in my life and I have a passion for the retail food space,” he said. “I’m excited to offer fresh, healthy food to this community again.”
Justin grew up in Franklin, attended Temple Beth El and graduated from Albion College. He first learned about Saladworks and Frutta Bowls in a magazine article and flew to Philly to tour the company’s corporate office. He is now Michigan’s first franchise owner and the first to bring the two brands together.
Founded in 1986, Salad-works is the nation’s leading fast-casual, create-your-own salad destination, with more than 150 locations across 18 states and two countries. Saladworks encourages guests to be original, giving them the option to choose from salads, warm grain bowls or wraps, along with an endless array of fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and delicious dressings.
The company spent years creating a menu that caters to a wide variety of nutritional and dietary needs from vegetarian and vegan to Keto, Paleo and Whole 30. The menu includes 12 chef-created signature salads, or guests can build their own with a base of greens, grains (or both) and their choice of 65+ ingredients. There’s also a children’s menu.
Frutta Bowls was founded in 2016, offering plant-based, whole-food ingredients in customizable bowls and smoothies. “It’s a healthy superfood smoothie base,” Hiller said. “I like what that brings to breakfast, lunch, a snack or a meal replacement.”
While COVID-19 has made it a difficult time for restaurants, carry-out and delivery have become popular options. Saladworks and Frutta Bowls offers dine-in, carry-out, curbside pickup and delivery through DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. There’s also a catering menu with sandwich trays, large or individual salads, and more, plus an app where customers earn points and get rewards. The new restaurant is currently hiring.
On a recent weekday, team members were busy filling in-store and online delivery orders and gathering ingredients from a seemingly endless salad and smoothie bar that stretches almost the entire length of the store. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Hiller’s goal is to open additional locations across Michigan.
“As someone who is committed to eating healthy and living an active lifestyle, the opportunity to offer the community two health-conscious dining options is extremely exciting and humbling,” he said.
Saladworks and Frutta Bowls is located at 4301 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield. To learn more or place an online order, visit saladworks.com (and search Saladworks Crosswinds Mall), or call (248) 499-6992.