Input Salad: new student-run salad shop to open in Manhattan


TheraPie is getting a new roommate this spring: a salad shop. Input Salad, the brainchild of a Kansas State student, is set to share space with the pie shop in March.

Jaetyn Conrad, junior in nutrition and health and owner of Input Salad, said her passions led her to start her own business.

“I have always had a passion for nutrition. That’s what I’m currently studying at K-State,” Conrad said. “I’ve always just had a passion for creating spaces where people feel completely comfortable around food. I’ve recently discovered that I want to work in the restaurant industry.”

It hasn’t been a straightforward journey for her. Conrad said she entered her major thinking she wanted to follow a different career path entirely.

“I originally thought that I wanted to go into more of the nutrition coaching, like working with eating disorders,” Conrad said. “Then it just dawned on me one day that I wanted to create spaces where people didn’t feel guilt with food, where they just felt completely comfortable around the idea of food. I’ve always liked the management side of restaurants, like creating the business model, the plans and all the little details, and so I just merged those two passions together.”

The name for Input Salad aims to inspire customers to eat healthily.

“My best friend came up with the name. She was helping me design the logo for it. We were both just spending time on Google, just looking for different names,” Conrad said. “I immediately was just like, ‘Yep, that’s it.’ A positive input creates a positive output.”

While the business has plans to share the store with TheraPie, the two businesses will not be sharing a menu, Conrad said.

“TheraPie is already an established business in town. They have their menu — you can already get pie from them,” Conrad. “There aren’t a lot of places in town that offer salads, so I think that kind of sets us apart. I have written [my menu]. You can expect to see four different salads. Two of those will most likely stay on the menu all year round, and then the other two are going to rotate seasonally.”

The salad shop aims to be an easy and healthy option for busy students and Manhattan residents, Conrad said.

“It is a grab-and-go option — it’s quick, it’s fast,” Conrad said. “It’s a safe space, where I’m hoping that more than their physical health is nourished. I’m hoping that it’s a space where they can grow their mental health, their social health and really just become, you know, more whole in their health.”

Sonja Sundstrom, sophomore in animal science and industry, said the new salad shop sounds hip and different.

“I feel like we have a lot of chains here, not a lot of restaurants that are unique to Manhattan,” Sundstrom said.

Averie Medley, sophomore in business administration, said she is excited about a newer, healthier option in the area.

“I feel like we have a lot of fast food places, which obviously — yes, that’s good,” Medley said. “But we don’t have a lot of places like that where it’s a healthy snack moment.”

Conrad said Input Salad is based out of Manhattan not only because of the town’s need for a salad shop, but also because she loves the community. 

“I’ve been in Manhattan for the past four years, so I would like to create something that keeps me here a little bit, even beyond when I graduate. Because, I mean, this town is great. Who wouldn’t want to have a business in this town?” Conrad said.

Conrad said she encourages young entrepreneurs to turn to the people around them for help when starting their own businesses. 

“I really am grateful for the community that I have. I really have the most talented support system. This is not something that I’ve done on my own,” Conrad said. “I would say for K-State students who are hoping to open businesses, look at your support system. Look at who’s in your life, and really rely on them to pick up where you don’t have that talent.”

While the exact opening date is uncertain, Conrad said Input Salad can be found at 106 S. 4th St. sometime in March.