Whether you know this as the 1981 Salad from Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ or the 1905 Salad from The Columbia, I just know it as the Best Salad Ever! With lettuce, ham, cheese, tomatoes, artichokes, it’s the bold, tangy dressing that’s the real star.
During our Last Trip to Walt Disney World we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants – Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs. We eat there just about every trip as the food is always delicious and the atmosphere is fun. This time, though, I noticed something different on the menu… the 1981 Salad.
Described on the menu as “chopped iceberg and spring mix lettuce, honey ham, roasted artichoke, tomato, Swiss cheese and Spanish olives. The secret is in the sauce with Worcestershire, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and vinegar. Chef Art’s nod to the Tampa classic.” Now, that Tampa classic it’s referring to is the 1905 Salad that became famous at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. The Columbia is a landmark restaurant that holds the title of the oldest continually operating restaurant in Florida and the oldest Spanish restaurant in the United States. It’s also one of the largest Spanish restaurants in the world with 1,700 seats; it takes up nearly a city block. Now, I had the 1905 Salad back when I was in Tampa for a conference in college and I absolutely loved it. So, I knew I had to try Chef Art’s version – which he named as an ode to his first Disney cast role in the Magic Kingdom College Program back in 1981.
It was everything I had remembered and more! This isn’t a light little side salad. It is packed with toppings. But it’s the specific combination of ingredients and the big, bold flavor of the dressing that makes this salad so special. And while the Worcestershire sauce gives the dressing its unique flavor, the garlic is what gives it the kick of flavor. It’s the kind of salad that will require breath mints or gum later, but it’s 100% worth it!
Being nearly 8 hours from Orlando and even farther from Tampa, I knew I had to recreate the recipe at home so I could enjoy this deliciousness anytime I wanted. Fortunately, the Columbia shares their recipe on their website, so I had a great place to start. And honestly, it didn’t need much work. Chef Art’s dressing is much more flavorful and tart than the original version, so I added some more vinegar to kick it up a notch.
Chef Art added some spring mix to his version as the original version just calls for iceberg. He also added artichokes, which I think was brilliant as they add great flavor and are one of my favorite veggies. I also think his salad has more toppings in general, so I included more in my recipe.
At the Columbia the dressing doesn’t include the lemon or Worcestershire. Those are added with the dressing as it’s tossed table-side. To make it a little easier, I added those ingredients to the dressing – as does Homecomin’. For a more authentic experience, you can add it when serving. I developed my version to be more like Chef Art’s.
So when it came time to name this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it recognizable as a copycat of Chef Art’s but also pay homage to the OG. And when I couldn’t decide exactly what to name it, I decided to call it all of them!
A few things to keep in mind…
Chef Art included some spring mix in his salad, but I just used iceberg in my version. I’m usually not a huge iceberg fan, but it just works in the recipe and gives it the crunch it needs. And though iceberg doesn’t have much flavor, you won’t need it with the crazy flavorful dressing. But feel free to add in some spring mix, if you wish.
The dressing is the real star here. For me (and for the Columbia) Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce is a must. In fact, The Columbia claims the title of being Lea and Perrin’s largest customer. This dressing gets better as it rests to allow the flavors to meld, so feel free to make it a day or so in advance.
Again, this dressing is bold, so be cautious about just pouring it all in. I add some dressing, toss, and taste to get it where I want it. It’s always easier to add more than it is to take it away.
The ham and cheese both call for them to be julienned or cut into matchstick sizes. I think it’s a great way to add some textural difference to the salad, but they will taste just the same however you decide to cut them.
This brings up another thing that I thought I’d share as a recipe developer. When an ingredient in a recipe lists the prep part before the ingredient name is means that you’ll need to prep it in that manner before measuring. For instance, the recipe calls for “1 cup of julienned Swiss cheese,” so you’ll want to julienne it before measuring. If the recipe called for “1 cup of Swiss cheese, julienned,” you’d measure it first, then cut it. Does that make sense? Educated cooks make better cooks, right?
Now go make this salad! Y’all are going to LOVE it!
The 1981 Salad or The 1905 Salad or The Best Salad Ever
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1 cup julienned swiss cheese
- 1 cup julienned smoked ham
- 1/2 cup green olives with pimentos
- 1 cup quartered marinated artichokes, each sliced in half
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, garlic, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the vinegar while whisking briskly to create an emulsion. Add the lemon juice and continue to wisk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Listed amounts are just suggestions. Use immediately or allow the flavors to develop in the refrigerator.
- When ready to assemble the salad, combine the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, ham, green olives, and artichokes in a large bowl. Whisk dressing together once again. Add the desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Add the romano cheese and toss again. Serve immediately.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
This is an old school salad, called a chef salad in the 70’s, 80s’
and 90’s… We used ice berg only, tomato’s, cucumber’s, diced ham and cheese, onion’s are optional. We served this with the little butter cracker’s and dressing. I only remember French, Thousand Island, and maybe Italian.. I worked in a restaurant after school in the 70’s and we sold a lot of these, delicious.. I might try this dressing, yum!
I love a good chef salad and this one does share some similarities. The dressing is the best part.
I’m allergic to seafood so can I eliminate the Worcestershire Sauce as it has anchovies in it?
You can, but the flavor will be very different.
I’ve been making (and eating) the 1905 Salad all of my life. (I’m a native Tampan) It’s a wonderful salad! Just be sure not to drench the salad with the dressing. It will lose some of the crunch that makes this salad great.
It’s the best!
OMG! I have had the pleasure of enjoying this salad at The Columbia restaurant in Ybor City. this recipe was a joy to make and the results were nothing short of spectacular. My husband and adult kids who usually pooh pooh salads loved it as well. Would be the main dish next time I make it because everyone had seconds and thirds. Thank you!
I’m so glad everyone loved it!
Oh my goodness! Made this salad for lunch today. So delicious! Thanks for all your great recipes
Thank you Jackie!
So divine! We all LOVED it! Lots of compliments to the chef (ME:)
I love you blog. I love this salad. Regards from Spain
Thank you! Love seeing just how far my recipes reach!
My goodness, how can you call this the 1905 Salad??? Similar, yes, but not the same! Perhaps the 1981 Salad would be more accurate. I have eaten at the Columbia on St. Armands Circle in FL my entire life and yes, your recipe is very similar but not the same. If someone wants the 1905 salad recipe please check the Columbia website!
Ummm… ok? Did you read the post?
WOW…just wow ..😊found your site at 2a on a Saturday morning.. couldn’t sleep🤷🏻♀️Where have I been all your life? Love the entire format and wonderful recipes and tips that you share♥️. But I have to comment on your readers remarks.. dang ppl!! Some are just downright hateful… why some ppl gotta be so UGLY about a darn recipe ?.. Jenny and Bill come to mind..😒 .. my goodness.. all of us great cooks ALWAYS ADD EMBELLISH AND TWEAK a recipe.. get over it already…peace OUT!!😬
Ha! Thanks so much, Liz! And welcome!
I definitely enjoyed! I felt a bit like something was missing. I didn’t let the dressing sit long enough, I think, but I also felt it needed some sweetness. Next time I may add a bit of something to the dressing: fruit vinegar or some of the liquid from my homemade poached pears. Another person mentioned red onion and that might do the trick for someone like me who has a sweet tooth. Maybe the need for sweetness wasn’t as great in the old days when added sugar wasn’t so common.!
I think the red onion is a great idea!
Oh my goodness, this salad is divine! My husband and I give it 4 thumbs up! I had no idea that it would be so delicious. While eating, both of us could frequently be heard moaning “uuuuummmm” as we took another bite.
We don’t regularly eat marinated artichokes or green olives, but now they’ll be stables in my pantry. Thanks, Stacey, for introducing us to this salad. The recipe has gone directly to my “A” list.
Fantastic! I’m so glad to hear y’all enjoyed it so much! Thanks, Carol!
This recipe reminds me of the Maurice Salad. I can’t wait to try this – – if I could grab it off the page and eat it, I would!
I’ve not heard of the Maurice Salad, but I’m about to go look it up! Thanks!
The Columbia is our families favorite restaurant. FYI, the next time you are in Orlando, there is one in Celebration too. I grew up in Lakeland, and used to go to the one in Tampa, Ybor City for many many years. There are several in the state. Always a must stop for us. When ever we are in the state.
Thanks for the tip! We will certainly check that out!
Typo, jar just has to be I cup size.
You are right. The dressing is the star and you can put it on a salad like yours or even plain romaine.
I put all the ingredients into the food processor, spin it through until well blended. Put it into an airtight jar that will hold 2 cups of liquid. Refrigerate. The recipe will layer and although it looks very nice that way, you have to take it out of the fridge 1/2 or more before you intend to use it so that it can melt. Give it a good shake, dress your salad and refrigerate the rest. Melt the same next use. I have never had it last past 5 days so I can’t comment on that.
This is the best ‘keeper’ recipe in a long time. Good luck and enjoy. Thanks to the Stacey for sharing such an outstanding dressing.
Thanks, Diane! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
I can’t wait to make this salad! Thanks for sharing!
Hope you love it as much as I do!
Delicious with a capital D!!!
I was fascinated with the history and couldn’t wait a moment to make it.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Barb from Nebraska
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it!
Hi Stacey. Made this for my dinner tonight, and it is delicious. Thanks much for another wonderful recipe.
Wonderful to hear! So glad you enjoyed it!
Interesting that no mention was made of the Columbia in Celebrations.
Columbia has several restaurants across Florida. I only mentioned the original once since that’s where I’ve been and where the salad was created.
Stacey this looks delicious! Next time you are down here in FL and if you have time I’d love to take you and your family to the Columbia for dinner! I haven’t had it at Art Smith’s yet. We are planning a trip over to Disney Springs soon so I’ll give it a try. We make this one so much at home, but it’s wonderful to go for the original every once in a while. They also have a great Flamenco show too! Awesome post and recipe!
Wait! How did I not know y’all were in Florida?? That would be so much fun! I’ve been, but the fam-jam hasn’t and I think they’d really like it. And it’s just not the Columbia without flamenco, right!?!?
I love this salad. I have been making a version of it for years. But didn’t have the name for it nor the recipe for the dressing. I pinned it under Perfect: Salads 🙂
Awww! Thank you, Kay!!
As being one that likes a little onion in my salad, do you think some red onion would be good in here?
I love red onion in salad and think it would be a delicious addition to this one!
This looks amazing Stacey!! My mouth is watering haha. I’m going to save this and try it out. Love the name too, lol!
Thanks, Aileen! Enjoy!
The original recipe is on Columbia Restaurant’s web page.
Yep. I linked to it in the post.