I walked into Sweetgreen on a cold Friday afternoon, and the first thing I noticed was the good heat that kept the inside of the restaurant an oasis to the cold outside weather. The line was somewhat long, but moved speedily so I was content to wait.
The establishment offers only indoor seating and has a very relaxed sort of “sit anywhere you want” feel. There are no waiters and no reservations, so it is first come, first serve when it comes to seating.
The decor is exemplary. It is elegantly placed and adds warmth with the customer experience at all. The walls are painted white with green designs and the occasional painting is hung up to add a little spice here and there. The tables and chairs are all wood, giving the restaurant a warm and comfortable feel.
The menu offered a variety of salad and grain options. Although I was challenged with choosing an item, I trusted the recommendation of the employee and ordered the Harvest Bowl.
The colorful dish consisted of organic wild rice, shredded kale, apples, sweet potatoes, roasted chicken, local goat cheese, toasted almonds and balsamic vinaigrette, which seemed just a little too “Silicon Valley” for me.
The next salad was the kale Casear salad, made with shredded kale, chopped romaine, parmesan chips, shaved parmesan, roasted chicken, tomatoes, fresh lime squeeze and caesar dressing.
Finally, I landed my eyes on the Guacamole Greens salad, which consisted of organic mesclun, tomatoes, red onion, tortilla chips, avocado roasted chicken, fresh lime squeeze and lime cilantro jalapeno vinaigrette. This was the only salad I had seen so far that had avocado, and something else to give it texture: tortilla chip pieces.
A bonus was that they mix it right there so the buyer does not have to go through the frustrating experience of mixing salad in a bowl that’s too small.
One issue with checkout was that I did not realize they do not accept cash, only cards, so I had to put my money away and get out my card to pay for the meal. This was only a slight inconvenience but is something to be aware of if the buyer’s only payment form is cash.
The seating area was a great public place with tables of varying size and people of all ages enjoying delicious salads. I placed my salad and fork down on the table and went to get my drink. Once again, I noticed that the amazing decor and feel really made for a great environment to enjoy a salad in.
However the worst part of the meal came when I arrived and tried the various drinks from the tea coolers. All drinks were marketed as “healthy” alternatives to other beverages and were made fresh in the store.
Athough they had several different flavors, the drinks all could be described as water with a little flavor, which was disappointing.
I settled with the spicy cider tea, but it was truly a bad beverage selection, and none of them were on par with the rest of the restaurant.
I took my drink to my table, where my Guacamole Greens awaited me. It was a truly delicious salad, and I could not get enough.
Finally, I returned the bowl to the bussing station, composted the beverage cup (since all the plastics in the store are compostable) and headed out the door.
Sweetgreen is a farm to table chain with two other locations in the Bay Area. While I cannot speak for the other Sweetgreen locations, the one located in downtown Palo Alto was a superb shop that prepared excellent food (but not so excellent beverages), fostered a great eating environment and ofers a very healthy selection of food.
Sweetgreen’s hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day Monday through Sunday. They are located at 581 Ramona St, Suite 120, Palo Alto, Calif.