I am, above all else, a sick, sick person who believes that ranch dressing is, perhaps, the greatest condiment in existence. I am not fooled by what it is at its core, as it is just ultimately just a kind of loose, zesty mayonnaise (which, same), but this acknowledgment about the fundamental truth of ranch dressing has not and will not do anything to deter my love for it. Its versatility is unparalleled as it goes seamlessly from salad dressing to dippable gold and everywhere in between. If it can (and should) be dipped, it then probably can (and should) be dipped in ranch dressing.
Given the seat of honor ranch dressing holds in my condiment pantheon, it brings me no pleasure, and if I’m being perfectly honest, great devastation, to report that Sweet Tomatoes, purveyors of the greatest ranch dressing to have ever existed, is going out of business, taking their glorious dressing with them.
Much in the same way that people who have a blind obsession with Diet Coke have a raking of the most satisfying ways to enjoy that brown, sparkling, spicy water (fountain is best, the end), ranch dressing connoisseurs have a fundamental understanding of where the best of the stuff comes from. Anything with the word “Lite” in it can kick rocks, and Ken’s can step to absolutely the front of the line. Before all of the other options though, sat the ranch dressing that was found in the salad bar at Sweet Tomatoes. Perfect, obviously, for the salad buffet but also for pretty much anything else to be found within those walls that could be eaten with your hands.
All 97 Sweet Tomatoes locations (and, as they were apparently known in some places, Souplantation, a name that really and truly makes me question my patronization of the chain as a whole) are shutting down as a result of covid-19.
While I know we will all collectively heal from the loss of Sweet Tomatoes ranch dressing with time, it does beget the question of whether or not any buffet-style restaurants will still be around once all is said and done. Ruby Tuesday? CiCi’s Pizza? Will there even be a chocolate fountain at Golden Corral left?