Jour Naked in Paris
Only the French could name a chain of restaurants “Naked Day” and get away with it. “Jour Naked” is a relatively new type of fast food in Paris that is sure to expand in popularity with tourists and locals who welcome the opportunity to choose the ingredients of their meal. While strolling the avenues of Paris this week, I discovered this treasure of a restaurant that specializes in fresh hand-tossed salads. “Jour Naked” does to salad what “Pinkberry” does to frozen yogurt: they take a good basic product and offer quality toppings to make it a real treat.
“Jour” or “Naked” as the restaurants are known, advertise themselves as “Salads Sur Mesure” which basically means “salads made to order.” There are 8 bases, 42 toppings, and 8 salad dressings (or sauces, as the French say) which can be combined to create 365 different salad options: theoretically a different salad for every day of the year (that the restaurant is only open approximately 300 days a year may not have occurred to the marketing team).
Each restaurant is ultra clean with the decor done in either earth tones or a glistening green and white color scheme. There are three parts to each restaurant: the seating area, the self-serve refrigerated section containing drinks (fresh juices!) and pre-made foods (soups, wraps, salads, yogurt, desserts) and the made-to-order salad line. Behind fingerprint-free clear glass, are 42 immaculate containers of toppings that include meats, cheeses (freshly shaved parmesan, mozzarella), beans, pasta, vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and croutons.
First choose a green (i.e. mixed greens, spinach,or watercress) and choose a size (small which is quite large or grande which is enormous). The preparer pours the greens into a metal bowl and then asks you to choose your toppings. Each topping is a separate cost (but not expensive).
I ordered fresh spinach (small) and asked for freshly grated parmesan, corn, peas, zucchini, olives, tomatoes, lima beans, mixed nuts, and dried fruits with a caesar dressing on the side (although the preparer will mix the dressing into the salad if you prefer) and the cost was 10 Euros (which is about $12.50 and a bargain for lunch in Paris). If the salad will be enjoyed in the restaurant, the preparer places the mixed greens and toppings into a big ceramic bowl that is handed to you on a tray with sturdy disposable flatware. Choose a table, enjoy your meal, and when finished, discard any leftovers and place the bowl and tray on the receptacle provided (similar to Panera or Chipotle style). For those that want “take away,” the salads are packed in a plastic container within a white and green cardboard box with a handle on top (reminiscent of a Build-A-Bear box).
The restaurant chain was started in 2003 with the opening of the first “Jour” at 13 Malesherbes in the 8éme arrondissement (close to the Elysees Palace or the Madeleine metro stop) followed by a second location at 29 Rue de Louvre in the 2éme arrondissement (very close to the Louvre) in 2004. Since then, the company has opened 15 more locations,mostly in Paris with plans to open five new locations annually.
There are 11 locations in Paris with three locations in the 2éme, four in the 8éme, two in the 9éme, and one location in both the 16éme and 17éme. For a complete list of locations and addresses, go the website listed below. “Jour Naked” restaurants are easy to spot with green awnings on the outside of the building. During nice weather, several of the locations offer outdoor dining tables. Hours are Monday – Saturday from 11:45 – 4:30 for most locations although one location (16éme) is open from 9:00 – 7:00.