Salads—aren't they just the best? Not only are they easy on the waistline and kind to your arteries, but they can be so much fun! You can add on creative proteins. You can roll them up in a wrap. Who needs red meat when you can just toss some real iron into your fresh spring greens? Inside that mound of romaine and arugula you'll find identity, oneness, and even an echo of flavor. Deep breaths, everybody; keep calm and kale on.

As the nation's dining public becomes more discerning about nutrition, farming practices, and restaurant ethics, one thing has become clear: McDonalds is out, and salads of all stripes are in. The Times, of course, is ON IT with a front-page story about our shifting lunchtime proclivities—and the companies cashing in.

$12 is a steep price for getting your leafy mix fix, but the report points out that many new chains are throwing in "an even more exalted level of nourishment" at no extra charge. Upstart chains like Tender Greens, LYFE Kitchen, and Veggie Grill are prospering with "farm to counter" seasonal menus, sustainable seafood, and nice china plates. Brand names like these can only come from one place, and a quick bit of clicking confirms it: these chains all hail from California, where weekends are spent doing pilates along the radiant ocean surf.

We New Yorkers, we of cream cheese, cigarettes, and cheeseburgers, should be ashamed of ourselves.

The West Coast Salad Consensus is gaining ground, and fast. The Times notes that Veggie Grill's revenue shot up almost 50% from 2012 to 2013. Even more impressive, Tender Greens raked in over $3 million per restaurant last year, a figure that trounces both Chipotle and Panera's figures. LYFE Kitchen will open up in Manhattan this fall and spots like SweetGreen are already here, where you can get a District Cobb Salad with agave dijon vinaigrette for $11.85.

Read the today's cover story with care and the message becomes clear: fast food salad chains are smarter and superior in every way to our beloved Shake Shacks, our dear delis, and most of all, our favorite slice spots. "We want to be the place where the vegan can come for the portobello burger with almond-bilk cheese, with the Neanderthal friend who just wants a really good cheeseburger," LYFE Kitchen executive Mike Donahue told the times. Neanderthals, indeed.