Metro Weekly

Sweetgreen opens in D.C. Navy Yard

Local chain has sights on California expansion

Photo by Troy Petenbrink

Photo by Troy Petenbrink

With the soft opening today of its newest location in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, Sweetgreen now has 27 locations across five states (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts) as well as D.C.  The fast casual, farm-to-table salad chain also recently announced plans to open its first West Coast location in the heart of gay-friendly West Hollywood, Calif., in early 2015.

The brainchild of three Georgetown University students who opened their first location in 2007 on M Street in Georgetown, Sweetgreen has become an established institution among diners seeking a quick, healthy meal. It has also gained fans from its strong commitment to sustainability.

Its new Navy Yard location is at 1212 4th St. SE, and is Sweetgreen’s 11th location in D.C. The space is 1,800 square feet and includes a newer open kitchen concept to give guests a transparent view of how the restaurant operates. Much of the wall coverings and the furniture is made with either reclaimed or sustainably harvested woods. 

A large chalkboard contains a list of the store’s fresh ingredients along with the names of the local farm suppliers. Prominently displayed is copy of Sweetgreen’s five core values that begins with a commitment to “create solutions where the company wins, the customer wins, the community wins.”

The Navy Yard menu with its array of salads and fresh toppings is very similar to its sister restaurants in other locations. However, it does include a wild rice bowl that is only available at select locations. This specialty item features organic wild rice, shredded kale, local apples, dried cranberries, toasted almonds, roasted chicken, goat cheese and a housemade balsamic vinaigrette.  In addition, unlike many Sweetgreen’s other restaurants, the Navy Yard location does not serve frozen yogurt.

Terry Fife, the general manager of the Navy Yard location, says he campaigned hard to join Sweetgreen.  A twenty-year veteran of the restaurant industry and a frequent Sweetgreen customer before becoming an employee just months ago, Fife say he simply could not pass up the opportunity to be part of a company that “shared his personal values.”  And based on Sweetgreen’s growth, it appears plenty of people agree with Fife — one fresh salad at a time.  

Sweetgreen’s Navy Yard location will have a soft opening 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, June 18. Patrons are invited to pay what they want with proceeds going to support FRESHFARM Markets.  It will be open for regular business 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning tomorrow, June 19.




Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at