The salad bar. So 1970s, right?

Maybe not. The venerable Peter's Grill just added a modest lunchtime spread, and venues from supermarkets to Q.Cumbers and Fogo de Chao continue to embrace this do-it-yourself style of fast-food dining.

It's been ages since I popped in on the Skyroom, the vast cafeteria that has occupied the 12th floor of Macy's in downtown Minneapolis for what feels like forever. My bad. An express elevator whisked me skyward in a matter of seconds, and soon enough I was eyeing the restaurant's tidy, bus-length stretch of a salad bar.

When in Rome, right? I got in line, grabbed a plate and started inching my way past the goodies, where little details made a favorable impression. Lettuces (Romaine, field greens, spinach) were obviously fresh. The 30-plus toppings ranged from the familiar (hard-cooked eggs, grated carrots) to the surprising (edamame, pepitas, pickled herring, green chiles), and the long list of dressings (11 total) included an ultra-creamy one brimming with bits of pungent blue cheese.

It's not just the land of tossed salad, either. There were eight prepared salads of varying appeal (kudos to the inventive toss of broccoli, bacon, pecans and sunflower seeds in a zesty curry vinaigrette), plus a trio of soups and a few different breads, including a more-than-decent baguette and tender Cheddar- and herb-filled biscuits.

Bargain hunters will appreciate the daily $1 deal; best is Thursday's refreshingly tart house-made lemonade. Not that bellying up to this particular bar isn't affordable. On the contrary. The all-you-can-eat spread runs $8.95, or $9.95 with a bottomless soda.

The sun-soaked setting is ideal for the Vitamin C-deprived, and the spectacular views are gratis. They don't call it the Skyroom for nothing.

Skyroom, 700 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-375-2200, Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.