[AROUND TOWN] Salad chain Sweetgreen opens Grand Ave location

Not all salads are created equal. That’s why Sweetgreen goes the extra mile to cultivate a realistic, fun and customizable approach to healthy eating. The newest location of the salad food chain opened in St. Paul on Tuesday. Sweetgreen’s mouth-watering salad and grainbowl combinations are filled with fresh, responsibly-sourced ingredients, and the company as a whole centers fostering community through food as their core value.

Sweetgreen rose from the ground up—it was founded in Washington D.C. in 2007 by three college students searching for an accessible source of healthy food. They craved a reliable supply of nutritional food, and when they couldn’t find it, they created one themselves. The company’s mission has exploded throughout its 15 years of operation. In addition to opening a combined nearly 1,000 locations across 15 states, Sweetgreen has declared a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2027 and launched community outreach programs such as Sweetgreen in Schools. Most recently, Sweetgreen has endeavored on a midwest expansion which includes opening four brand new locations in the Twin Cities.

Sweetgreen’s mouth-watering salad and grainbowl combinations are filled with fresh, responsibly-sourced ingredients, and the company as a whole centers fostering community through food as their core value.”

The St. Paul location is nestled conveniently in the bustling Crocus Hill neighborhood on Grand Avenue. Even from a street view, the restaurant’s community-through-food mission shines through in the mural art on the stone exterior, painted by Twin Cities-based artist Ashley Mary.

The exceptional quality of Sweetgreen ingredients is apparent from the first bite. The Kale Caesar, one of the most popular items on the menu, was also restaurant employee Shannon’s favorite salad. Each forkfull produced perfectly textured kale enhanced by the simple—yet delectable—parmesan crisps, romaine, roasted chicken and lime drizzle. Even the caesar dressing pulled off the perfect balance of creamy and tangy. I swapped the tomatoes for a hard boiled egg, which provided an additional delectable source of protein and even more flavor diversity.

The interior of the store is both pleasing to the eye and functional. The order lane allows customers to watch employees make their salad or bowls behind a glass barrier with a separate area with barstools to eat or examine the menu. There is a separate, more private dining area complete with two single-stall bathrooms tucked away and a station for silverware, napkins and water. Most importantly, the space feels clean and well maintained. Although the store has only been open a mere four days, each table was clear and wiped down, the food preparation area appeared clean and organized and the employees kept both behind the counter and the common areas swept and mopped.

The Grand Ave. Sweetgreen employees are high energy, efficient and personable. They offered to answer questions about the menu, suggested their favorites and made conversation with guests. Sweetgreen service is fast and guests can order meals in person or on the Sweetgreen app.

The price point of Sweetgreen menu items is overall more wallet-friendly than local salad chain and competitor Crisp and Green. Sweetgreen salads and grain bowls fall right around the $9-$11 mark. Some of Crisp and Green’s most advertised items are as much $14.95, but not less than $12.55.

Sweetgreen is well prepared to make its mark on the restaurant industry in the Twin Cities between its Grand Ave., Edina and Minneapolis locations, plus an expected fourth location on the University of Minnesota campus in 2023. The quality of the food, employee service and diverse menu options are nothing short of excellent.