Salad bar inventor Norman Brinker died Tuesday morning (June 9) in an ironic twist.

He had inhaled food while out with his wife celebrating his birthday last week in Colorado Springs and succumbed to aspirated pneumonia six days later.

He was 78.

Dallas restaurateur Norman Brinker dies, Dallas Morning News

If this guy had not come along, I would never have nabbed my first job. I don’t know if I should thank him or curse him.

I entered the working world as a salad bar girl at the Bonanza restaurant chain, which has since gone out of business and people would always confuse with the Ponderosa restaurant chain, anyway.

Salad bars were also a lunch staple when I lived in New York City – except they went far beyond the salad with a sushi, fresh ginger slices and marinated garbanzo beans.

While Brinker was also known as a master chef and founder of the chain of Chili’s Grill & Bar, salad bars were the invention that changed the way America dines.

They also gave way to a host of other innovations, such as finding a practical use for kale and the invention of the sneeze guard.

We’ll miss you, Norman, lettuce wish you the best in eternal rest.

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