Ballston’s "sweet" New Spot

22 Dec
December 22, 2010

There are several different movements going on in the world today, and one local restaurant stands at the forefront of a couple of them.

Combining the best of the sustainable Earth movement and the healthy living push is salad restaurant sweetgreen, and luckily for people in the Arlington area, a new location opened up last month in Ballston.

Sweetgreen began in the D.C. area three years ago, and the Ballston shop is just the seventh restaurant the company operates.

sweetgreen-ballston-arlington-va

The restaurants eschew pizzazz, instead favoring a sleek, simple design.  And the new Ballston location conforms to that mold.

The floor is sealed concrete and ceilings are nonexistent. Instead, sweetgreen leaves pipes and ducts to be exposed, drastically reducing the amount of building materials used.

The space is decorated with bright, reclaimed wood and uses plain energy-conserving fluorescent lights to give the restaurant a bright glow.

And that ethos carries throughout the salad shop. Sweetgreen is environmentally conscious in every element of its eateries. Every utensil and serving dish is 100% biodegradable and almost every ingredient in the store comes from a local source. A large chalkboard next to the register allows hungry patrons the opportunity to see exactly where their food comes from.

The farthest away an ingredient on a recent menu came from was southern New Jersey; and meats, cheeses and vegetables all come from a variety of local farms in the Washington D.C. area. The restaurant refuses to use preservatives, meaning every ingredient is as fresh as possible. That freshness helps create utterly delicious salads.

The restaurant also skips the typically back-of-house preparation for most ingredients, instead Sweetgreen lets its customers see exactly what’s going into their meals. Purchase sweetgreen’s version of a Cobb salad and one can watch as an employee cuts open a fresh avocado and scoops the green flesh directly on to waiting lettuce. Order a Caesar salad and marvel as the person behind the counter shaves fresh parmesan cheese from a large hunk straight on top of leafy Romaine.

All salads are prepared out in the open by friendly employees. And while sweetgreen offers eight suggestions, one can always pick and choose whatever they want in their meal.

After a healthy yet filling meal, sweetgreen offers a tasty, low-fat dessert right in the restaurant: a frozen yogurt bar, replete with numerous unique and different toppings: fresh blackberries coconut shavings, and granola are offered, along with typical staples like sprinkles.

The yogurt, just like everything in the restaurant, is all natural and amazingly good. And it leaves a patron feeling fantastic. Not just for having had a delicious meal, but for doing it with as minimal a carbon footprint as possible.

- David

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