What You’ll Eat at Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Festival This Year

R.J. Cooper and José Andrés are on the lineup at the April 28 concert.

Concertgoers won’t go hungry at this year’s Sweetlife festival.

It’s not all about the music. In addition to a lineup of bands that includes the Shins, Kid Cudi, Explosions in the Sky, and more, several big-name toques, restaurants, and purveyors have signed on to fuel the crowds at Sweetgreen’s annual Sweetlife Festival on April 28th at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

For the VIP crowd, R.J. Cooper is creating a lineup of cocktails, mocktails, and munchies. The Rogue 24 chef is planning a sort of pop-up restaurant during the festival, where he says he will serve “concert food, nothing super chichi.” The three major party food groups—tacos, tube meat, and ramen—will be represented: Think house-made hot dogs and brats stacked with toppings like kimchi, barbecue slaw, and German-style potato salad with sauerkraut, as well as tacos stuffed with pork carnitas, rockfish, or roasted mushrooms. In keeping with the eco-friendly, healthy theme of the festival, Cooper is focusing on local ingredients and will offer plenty of vegetarian options—including vegetable ramen and a vegetarian “Grateful Dog” topped with savory granola. To wash it all down will be local beers, wines, and riffs on sangria and rum punch made with local spirits. There will also be cocktails inspired by recent guest chefs at Rogue, including a libation that pays homage to New Orleans chef John Currence with Wasmund’s whiskey and smoked vanilla bitters. Non-drinkers can slurp on a seasonal fruit shrub or a smoked cola.

The hoi polloi won’t be hurting either, what with a “food forest” populated by chef José Andrés’s brand new food truck, Pepe, which will serve sandwiches such as fried chicken with piparra peppers or Serrano ham and Manchego, and a Spanish pork burger. Smucker Farms is working on two-person picnic baskets, stocked with fruit, sandwiches, drinks, and sweet treats. And then there’s always nom-worthy fare from Shake Shack and Brooklyn-based Roberta’s Pizza.

Don’t forget to check out a band or two between bites.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.