Sweet(green) dreams

New salad bar offers creative combinations


The Harvest Bowl combines vegetables, fruit, nuts and cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette.

By Caroline Bush, Staff writer

Healthy meets hearty when DC-based restaurant offers its famous bowls to SMU students, spin-class takers and anyone else who finds themselves on McKinney Avenue in Oak Lawn for a quick meal. Founded by Georgetown business students in 2007, Sweetgreen brings a refreshing twist to salad serving with its large assortment of toppings, flavors and combinations made possible through its Chipotle-style fast casual approach.

Sweetgreen’s goal is to change the approach to healthy eating with scratch-made meals offered at the pace of a fast food restaurant. The company aims to go carbon neutral by the end of 2027, and its plant-based options and eco-friendly materials reflect its devotion to combatting the challenge of climate change.

Upon approaching the restaurant, I was met with good vibes in its open, spacious floor plan with an added ambience from the green color scheme and modern art on the walls. While its indoor seating is not currently open due to COVID-19, I saw many customers enjoying meals at its outside tables on the nice night.

Whether in the mood for a cool crunch on a hot summer day or a warm medley of seasonal flavors, Sweetgreen has it all for its customers with its two main offerings: salads and bowls. Its salads have your typical lettuce base with cool toppings, and its hot bowls capture the flavors of a home-cooked meal.

After waiting in line for about 10 minutes, I stepped up to the ordering station, which was an assembly-line style. The server was kind and offered me three dressing options for my bowls: light, medium or heavy. I chose medium on all of the bowls and watched as she handmade each with its respective ingredients. They were out of some toppings I asked for, so I recommend going well before closing to avoid supply issues.

I decided to start with one of Sweetgreen’s most popular salads called Guacamole Greens, a combination of the classic guacamole ingredients tossed together in a spring mix and finished with roasted chicken. When I took my first bite, I was immediately hit with the punch from the lime cilantro vinaigrette. The salad had a perfect ratio of lettuce to toppings, and the dressing complemented the flavors of guacamole nicely. I can see why this is one of Sweetgreen’s most popular choices, and I would most likely order it next time I go.

The next bowl I opened was a less popular option, the Chicken Pesto Parm bowl. While I was most excited to try this bowl as I am a lover of both chicken parmesan and pesto, I was disappointed with its dryness and the overpowering amount of spinach. The flavor was good, and I appreciated the spice from the addition of Sweetgreen’s hot sauce. I think this bowl would have been better if they still had their spicy broccoli in stock, which I believe would complement the flavors in this dish nicely.

Lastly, I had to try Sweetgreen’s most well-known bowl with a seasonal flavor that sticks around all year: the Harvest Bowl. I will admit I was not the most excited to try this one since I am not typically a fan of many of its components, including the sweet potato, roasted almonds and kale. Surprisingly, however, I was blown away by the way the apple, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette perfectly brought the flavors together. It was like a warm hug when I took my first taste and an unexpectedly pleasant experience that made my trip to Sweetgreen worthwhile.

All in all, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Sweetgreen. The variety of interesting flavors it offers bring its salads to a new level where customers can really have anything they crave. The bowls kept me full for a long time without being too heavy a meal when I sought something light and easy for dinner. One inconvenience I personally experienced was the long drive, as the restaurant is certainly quite far for anybody who lives close to Hockaday – especially during rush hour. Also, the salads were a bit on the pricey side, but for the amount of sustenance they give, I think it is worth it. If I ever find myself craving something healthy and delicious, I will certainly return to Sweetgreen to give its other options a try.