Sweetgreen, the Washington, D.C.-based "seasonal fast food" chain, has finally made its way to the Bay Area, announcing plans to open its first NorCal outpost in the salad-loving community of Berkeley.The company, founded by a trio of Georgetown students in 2007, now has 30 locations across the East Coast and has recently rounded up investments to the tune of $18.5 million (along with the telling endorsement of high-profile investors like Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer). Indeed, the Westward expansion has just begun, with a newly opened location in L.A. and more in the works.
Co-founder Nathaniel Ru told Eater that the company is "super-pumped" to bring sweetgreen's healthy-eating and lifestyle ethos to the Bay Area. And while several local chains like Tender Greens, Blue Barn and The Plant Café offer a similar style of dining, Ru says he is excited to join the community. "All tides rise when people start eating healthier," said Ru. "We have a lot of respect for what they've been doing. Really, it's all about the network effect of people eating better."
The newest store will take over the iconic building that has been home to old-school hamburger grill Oscar's since 1950. The location stood out to Ru and his team because of the "its proximity to the university and closeness to the community," a story similar to the location of their first store in the heart of D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood. And while sweetgreen has been working with SF architecture firm Jensen to preserve the iconic architecture of Oscar's, the food will take a totally different direction.
The menu will boast a rotating, seasonal selection of salads and grain bowls, as well as a selection of staples like the Hummus Tahina salad, with kale, romaine, cucumbers, pita chips, feta, hummus, falafel and cucumber tahini yogurt. The Mexican Corn "Elote" bowl, composed of quinoa, farro, arugula, roasted corn and peppers, purslane, goat cheese, spicy sunflower seeds and a lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette is one of the options on the seasonal menu of the Los Angeles store, alongside a salad featuring Humboldt Fog cheese and local strawberries.
The roughly 1,200 square-foot space will offer a few places to sit inside, with an outdoor seating area for enjoying any potential East Bay sunshine. As of now, the lease is signed, with plans to begin construction in the next month or two. Expect a grand opening in fall 2015, just in time to greet the returning hordes of salad-starved UC-Berkeley students.