These greens are sweet
Houston’s wait for Sweetgreen’s arrival has almost come to an end. The ultra-popular salad chain will open the first of two Houston-area locations in Rice Village on July 23, the company announced in an email to subscribers.
Located at 2551 Amherst St., Sweetgreen will occupy a space near other popular out-of-town concepts such as Shake Shack and SusieCakes. A second location will open in Montrose in September, replacing Doc’s Motorworks at 1303 Westheimer Rd. Mailing list subscribers received invitations to mock service at the Rice Village location taking place Saturday, July 20, through Monday, July 22.
Founded in 2007 by then-Georgetown students Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru, Sweetgreen has grown to almost 100 locations in eight states. The Rice Village restaurant will be its first Texas outpost.
The company describes its mission as “[inspiring] healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”
Mostly, it does that by sourcing vegetables and other ingredients from a network of farms and presenting them in creative salad combinations. For example, the signature “Guacamole Greens” salads offer “organic mesclun, avocado, roasted chicken, red onion, tomatoes, tortilla chips, fresh lime squeeze, and lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette.”
A rotating selection of seasonal salads also keeps things interesting. One, the summer blueberry salad, combines blackened chicken thighs, cucumbers, red onions, green beans with lemon, local feta, spicy sunflower seeds, organic arugula, shredded kale, and smoky blueberry vinaigrette.
Diners may also build their own salads from a lengthy list of ingredients. Collaborations with celebrity chefs such as Michael Solomonov (Zahav and others in Philadelphia), David Chang (various Momofuku restaurants in New York and beyond), Jessica Koslow (Sqirl in Los Angeles), and others have helped give the brand credibility with passionate diners. Regulars obsess about their orders; the restaurant's following is so devoted that it has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram.
All of that success has attracted interest from investors. In 2018, one led by Fidelity Investments raised its value to more than $1 billion. In addition to its reputation for serving tasty food, the lofty valuation is based on the company’s innovative use of technology. Almost 50 percent of orders come via its website or app, and the restaurant uses blockchain technology to track its ingredients.
CultureMap has contacted Sweetgreen’s representatives for comment about the specifics of its Houston plans and will update this article when they respond. (Full disclosure: Sweetgreen is a CultureMap advertiser.)