Now, four years later, Nic Jammet and his three buddies—two of whom were on that original dorm floor—have teamed up to create the soon-to-open salad shop Sweetgreen, which will also sell their Sweetflow frozen yogurt. Located next to Philly Cheesesteak Factory and Philly Pizza—two notoriously grubby late-night Hoya spots—Sweetgreen hopes to add a fresher flavor to the corner of 34th and M streets.
In the same vein as the New York salad chain Chop’t—which is slated to open its first local branch in DC’s Penn Quarter this summer—Sweetgreen lets diners customize salads from a medley of greens, cheeses, meats, and crunchy toppings. Jammet and his gang didn’t limit options to boring old iceberg or grilled chicken. The toss-in lineup includes organic baby arugula and spinach, paprika shrimp, and salami. And you won’t find ranch among the nine handcrafted dressings. Instead, think hummus-lemon, cilantro-lime-jalapeno, and carb-free sweet roasted garlic.
After the four partners nailed down real-estate details this spring—Sweetgreen will be located in a former Little Tavern hamburger hut, the original green roof still intact—they started the fun part: Taste-testing salad combos so that indecisive customers could have “chef-crafted” options. “We definitely want avocado represented,” says partner Jonathan Neman, a Southern California native who grew up on Mexican cuisine. Thus, they’ll offer a “guacamole greens” salad of mesclun, avocados, jalapeño, red onion, and crushed tortillas.
For dessert, there’s Sweetflow frozen yogurt, a business move inspired by West Coast fro-yo phenom Pinkberry. The plain and specialty flavors are made from live, active cultures and can be jazzed up by such toppings as lychee, ladyfingers, and Kix cereal.
Though the just-graduated Hoyas are younger than most restaurateurs, they were able to get the attention of Core Architecture and Design, a local firm responsible for the looks of Mie N Yu, Curry Club, and Brasserie Beck. The opening date was originally set for “graduation week” and has been postponed a few times since, but Sweetgreen plans to open its doors next week.
Sweetgreen, 3333 M St., NW; 202-337-9338; eatsweetgreen.com.