Sweet Tomatoes: Family friendly feasting

By Bri Eveler

Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, Sweet Tomatoes restaurant is a rare gem. Walking into the place, I feel completely at ease as if I was back in my family’s house, ready to sit down to a home-cooked meal.

Sweet Tomatoes is a large buffet style restaurant that serves healthy foods and vegetarian options. It features an extensive salad bar, hearty soups and chowders, and pastas made from whole grain. Parents will enjoy the large selection of food, while kids will enjoy the classics like mac ‘n’ cheese and an ice cream bar.

When I walk through the door, the first thing that hits me is the heavenly smell. The second thing that hits me is the row of plates in front of me that leads to the salad bar. The restaurant doesn’t even make me pay for my food first; instead, it lets me experience its vast selection of salads first. At least five different types of salads are included, ranging from the classics like Caesar, to the lesser known Wonton Chicken Happiness salad. Or, if I prefer, I can make my own salad with any type of lettuce and any topping or dressing I can think of.

And remember: I haven’t even spent a dime yet.

Once I finally get to the line to pay for my meal, the price is extremely low. Just about $12 per person.

Once I finish my salad, it’s pure chaotic hungry bliss. Which scrumptious morsel should I eat next? The buttermilk biscuits? The hearty chili? Italian pasta with sausage? Whatever I choose, I can rest assured that it will be beyond satisfactory. Sweet Tomatoes isn’t like the buffets that I have experienced in the past: cold, mushy food that has been sitting out too long or limp salads that are far from fresh. By some miracle, Sweet Tomatoes constantly churns out batch after batch of perfectly prepared food that doesn’t sit too long or lose its deliciousness.

The best part may just be the dessert. Every month a new dessert is featured, along with the standard brownies, blueberry muffins, ice cream sundae bar, jello, and chocolate mousse. This month the dessert is chocolate lava cake. It tastes just about as fantastic as it sounds. Take that selection of food over to the ice cream bar and top it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and I have an all-time winner that keeps me coming back for more.

Let me also state that, although this restaurant is buffet-style, it still has very good staff and servers. Everyone is friendly, and a server repeatedly pops in to check how the meal is and to clear away dirty dishes. I like to think of them as magical elves in this magical place that make my dirty used dishes disappear every time I get up to grab another plate of food to stuff my face with. Although the service is minimal, it is impeccable.

Go. Go to Sweet Tomatoes. The large food selection can make anyone happy. The healthy eater will go wild with the nutritious items like the sugar-free jello.  The vegetarian will find the salad bar perfect. Even the foody who despises healthy foods will find something to tickle his taste buds, and may even find the healthy options so delicious that he’ll forget that what he is eating isn’t filled with sodium and trans fats. Sweet Tomatoes is the perfect place to go for dinner any day of the week.

For locations and menus: http://www.sweettomatoes.com/

 

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About brieveler

Attending Unviersity of Tampa, studying Psychology and Journalism.
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