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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News TribuneMartina Miller makes multiple salads for delivery Wednesday during the lunch hour. Miller opened Salad Slingers on Monday, the first business to start from the La Chica Loca commissary kitchen. Miller, who runs the business herself, has dreamed of opening a restaurant for many years. After more than 10 years of working with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, she decided to take the leap to open Salad Slingers. Long term, Martina hopes to open a full restaurant and provide employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community.

Martina Miller has dreamed of opening a restaurant for many years.

After more than 10 years of working with adults who have developmental disabilities, she decided to take the leap.

Salad Slingers, which opened Monday, is the first business to start from the La Chica Loca commissary kitchen — a shared commercial kitchen where food service operators can prepare and store their food. Salad Slingers offers homemade salads, wraps and soups from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Miller decided to open Salad Slingers on a whim. Constantly craving salad but never being able to find the kinds of salads she wanted, she noticed a need within the community.

"There was really no place to get a salad that I wanted, so I started doing some research, and it really was not that expensive," she said. "Salad was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment thought, and I was like, 'I can do this.'"

After hearing La Chica Loca at 306 E. High St. would be turned into a commissary kitchen, Miller knew she had to take the opportunity.

"I stumbled upon this place, and I was like, 'I have to go for it right now,'" she said.

Since the shared space doesn't allow for a dine-in option, the restaurant operates through curbside pickup and delivery through local food delivery service RapidChow.

The current menu includes taco salad, chicken bacon ranch salad, spicy grilled chicken salad, cobb salad, spinach and goat cheese salad, Caesar salad, taco salad wraps, chicken bacon ranch wraps and spicy grilled chicken wraps. While not on the menu, there is also typically a soup option every day. However, Miller has many other options she's interested in offering.

"I'm still not solidified on my menu right now because I have a lot of ideas," she said.

Miller runs Salad Slingers by herself, but she plans to hire at least one employee to help with day-to-day operations. While operating the restaurant by herself in a "ghost kitchen" is challenging due to limited space and marketing, her goals motivate her every day.

Within the next year, she hopes to open a full restaurant and provide employment opportunities to people with disabilities in the community. She has worked with people with developmental disabilities for more than 10 years, providing them companionship and assistance.

"All of them work, but they work at sheltered workshops and stuff, and they don't get paid fair wages," she said. "I want to be able to provide an environment that I know is safe for them and inviting, giving them a chance to work in the community, because that's what they want to do."

Her vision is a dark, quiet, whimsical restaurant that serves all-day homestyle breakfast. But she doesn't plan for Salad Slingers to go anywhere anytime soon.

"I don't think I'll ever close it if it goes well, because who doesn't love a good salad?" she said.

Short term, Miller's goal is to have more of a presence in the community.

"I want Salad Slingers to become more known in the community, but not just because it's here and you can come buy stuff," she said. "I want to get out there and give back. I want to get involved."

To place an order for pickup or delivery, visit saladslingers.com.

Know of any business happenings around Jefferson City? Let us know at [email protected] or 573-761-0243.

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