Salut Kitchen Bar-Fresh & Flavorful Mediterranean Cuisine by Lynette Carrington Salut Kitchen Bar Offers Fresh and Flavorful Mediterranean Cuisine in Relaxed Atmosphere Perhaps there is no better way to enjoy healthy food than by indulging in the delicious world of Mediterranean cuisine. With a wide array of flavors, textures and unique recipes, there is a dish that will appeal to nearly any taste palate. Since 2013, the team at Salut Kitchen Bar presents a fresh and relaxed approach to Mediterranean food that continuously leaves the Valley cheering for more. Co-owners of Salut, Anastasios Tirkas and David Freedman have worked diligently to perfect the recipes and inviting ambiance at the Tempe restaurant. The duo met some years ago when they attended ASU and having Salut just right off of the college campus really brought everything full circle. “We were on vacation in Cyprus,” says Freedman of a time in 2013 when he and Tirkas had gone on a trip. “That’s where we came up with the whole idea. Tassos is from there.” The name “Salut” is a traditional greeting on the island of Cyprus and became the perfect name for the restaurant. Freedman liked the many features of Salut and thought it was a fantastic location. “The patio… we’re dog-friendly,” Freedman explains. “We have free, easy parking and have great freeway access. We’re in Tempe, but away from the college crowd, which is also what we wanted. There’s much more in Tempe than just college bars and college students.”“The whole thing was that restaurants wouldn’t come to Tempe,” says Tirkas. “We wanted something different. We wanted to combine the American and Mediterranean cuisines together. We told our chef we wanted some unique dishes that give the flavors of both countries.” Freedman adds, “We’ve coined it Ameri-terranean.” “Our crowd reflects a good mix of ages and weekend brunch will skew a little bit younger,” continues Freedman. “The only college crowd we get are for date night – trying to impress a girl. We get first dates here all the time.” The atmosphere at Salut is relaxed, but it is subtly decorated to give off the ambiance of the Mediterranean. The weekend brunch runs 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and features bottomless mimosas and what Freedman calls “the best bloody mary in the state.” A bacon bloody mary? Yes, Salut has it!The menu includes Tirkas’s mother’s hummus recipe. It is outstanding and features just the right level of “zing” that departs from a typical bland hummus. “We flew her out from Cyprus to train the staff how to make it,” says Freedman. In fact, when she is in town, she still comes in to the restaurant to ensure that the chefs are making the hummus to her specifications. That is very representative of the care that is taken with the menu at Salut. Best of all, Salut offers an affordable menu with an “all-fresh” approach. You won’t find ingredients that have been chilling in a can, rather, fresh ingredients are brought into Salut each day. Salads, burger and sandwiches grace the menu, as well as some unique entrees. The pistachio-crusted salmon is the most popular and includes an 8 oz. wild salmon filet lightly kissed with honey and topped with crushed pistachios. The dish is complimented with zesty lemon orzo and lightly grilled asparagus. If your diet is gluten free, then this is the dish for you! General manager Brian Riesenberg says, “Any dish can be made gluten-free.” Because Salut has a “from-scratch” kitchen, any dish can be customized to meet various dietary requirements for its guests. Salut keeps everything fresh, affordable, healthy and fun!Speaking of fun, because they thought of everything, Salut offers tabletop s’mores. That’s right you and your friends can have a mini-“campfire” brought to the table with a pile of Hershey’s chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. “You’ll fall in love with it all over again,” says Tirkas. “The hummus nachos are our signature dish,” states Freedman. “Hands-down, it’s the dish that people order and probably four-to-one more than any other dish we sell in here.” The appetizer is the perfect size to share and features “mama’s hummus.” Following the lead of Greek cuisine, Salut includes many selections of shared plates such as a variety of bruschetta and hummus stuffed avocado, and much more! With such a delicious and diverse selection, you might just want to try them all! Many groups stop in to enjoy a bottle of wine and choose several of the tapas plates to create their own unique meal from various selections.Salut carries more than 50 scotches and bourbons and mo re than a dozen craft beers. They also have absinthe for those up for something just a bit different. Happy Hour at Salut is one of the best in Tempe, if not the entire Valley. During Happy Hour, enjoy $2 off all appetizers, $2 off all glasses of wine, draft beer, Moscow mules and craft cocktails. Plus, take $2 off all tapas and tabletop s’mores. Additionally, guests receive 50 percent off all bottles of wine. Whether you dine inside or sit outside on the dog-friendly patio, you’ll get the chance to enjoy some fantastic libations and noshes. Happy Hour runs 3-6:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Additionally, all bottles of wine are 50 percent off each Sunday! Join the official email list of Salut and receive an order of free hummus nachos. This is the very signature dish that will introduce you to the flavorful journey that you will encounter on the Salut Kitchen Bar menu. Click here to register. It’s free! Salut Kitchen Bar is located at 1435 E. University Dr., Tempe. Visit www.salutkitchenbar.com or call (480) 625-3600 for additional information. Catering is also available.