Wednesday, June 18, 2014

sweetgreen Media Preview

sweetgreen at The Yards opens tomorrow

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what type of foods I prefer; but man DC Outlook doesn't live on breakfast, burgers and pizza alone. Every now & then, we like to "get down" with something healthy: When it comes to healthy, few places rival sweetgreen. The DC-based “farm-to-table” salad chain opens its 20th DMV location tomorrow at 1212 4th Street, SE in The Yards; but offered local media and random passersby a sneak peak inside their newest digs yesterday. Those lucky few (including a rush of employees from the nearby Department of Transportation... word travels fast) were treated to FREE food and drink, as sweetgreen employees prepared for Thursday's official opening.

As with other sweetgreen locations, expect a clean & functional dining area. Inside seating accommodates 30 with a 22-seat patio on its way. Walk up to place an order, and you'll notice a large chalkboard to your left with a list of local produce and where it comes from (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia... right down to the name of the farm.) How refreshing to really know where your food comes from.

Almost ready for business...

The folks behind the counter couldn't have been nicer... encouraging everyone to "fill their plates" since it was free. Sadly, you'll have to pay from now on; but today is Pay what you want, from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. All (as in 100%) of today's proceeds will go to FRESHFARM Markets: Talk about full circle. I had a lunch review (at nearby Osteria Morini... what a great neighborhood) in less than 30 minutes; but I couldn't resist sampling sweetgreen's Classic Gazpacho and a cup of Blueberry Basil Lemonade (regularly $2.50.) Both hit the spot on a 95° day... especially the latter, one of the best lemonades I've had in some time.

The gazpacho is terrific tasting, although I could stand more gazpacho and fewer greens on top... in a larger cup. A Classic Gazpacho costs $3.25 (also available with avocado or strawberries for a little more $) but I'd suggest doubling the size, and perhaps raising the price to $5.25. Chilled soups are almost impossible to find nowadays (especially in a fast casual establishment) and it would be a shame to miss out on something so refreshing, just because there's not enough of it.

Classic Gazpacho

As for the lemonade, it's worth mowing a patch of lawn for. sweetgreen makes their iced teas and lemonades in-house; and the Blueberry Basil Lemonade is to die for. Great basil aftertaste, not too sweet and really tasty. Remind me to ask for a takeaway pitcher next time.

sweetgreen is clearly a company to keep an eye on. Last year, AOL co-founder Steve Case's the Revolution Growth fund jumped on board the "sweetgreen express," to the tune of a $22 million investment. New locations in Boston, New York & Philly are expected soon, in addition to a few more in the DC area. I wonder if this is what Georgetown students Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru had in mind back in 2007?

Blueberry Basil Lemonade

Construction runs rampant in the area; but it's impossible not to see the appeal of this fast-growing neighborhood. Nationals Park was a great first piece, but The Yards is fast becoming a self-sustainable entity with some truly exciting culinary options. With sweetgreen's arrival, add healthy & affordable to the mix. Bon app├ętit, and don't forget the lemonade!