It’s a wonder it’s taken Sweetgreen, the Washington, D.C.-based fast-casual salad company, so long to expand to Berkeley. The land of organic produce and farm-forward thinking was practically begging for a location, which it finally has in the old Oscar’s space as of today. Co-founder Nicolas Jammet told Eater the company had been eyeing the Bay Area for quite some time, but approached the area with caution since organic food is nothing new to the community. "We spend a lot of time from the minute we sign the lease in that market trying to understand everything about the community so we know how to build our Sweetgreen and have that context to make decisions about new menu items and design," he said.
The result is overtaking Oscar’s, but leaving the iconic elements, like the original structure with arched windows and a skylight intact. And rather than get rid of the old Oscar’s sign, Sweetgreen left it in place with their logo over the top. They’ve also added an enclosed patio for people to sit outside — and, a huge plus for Berkeley, there’s parking.
As for the food, the ethos of the company is based on local, seasonal, organic ingredients that are prepared from scratch and transparently-sourced (you can see the menu and sources here). Salads, like the falafel and feta with broccoli leaf, chopped romaine, roasted beets, spicy broccoli, parsley, mint, local feta, baked falafel and lemon garlic chili vinaigrette — specifically created for this location — range from $7 to $13. Sweetgreen opens to the public today, April 19, with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting the Berkeley Technology Academy. Business as usual then begins on Wednesday, April 20 with hours 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.