Fast-casual salad chain, sweetgreen, just opened it’s fourth Brooklyn location downtown on the corner of Court and Atlantic. Brooklyn Magazine asked Co-Founder and COO, Nicolas Jammet, for his thoughts around the continued expansion into Brooklyn and for his thoughts around their mission to bring healthy food options to new communities.
1) Sweetgreen has opened 20+ locations in NYC and now a location in downtown Brooklyn on Court street. How has Brooklyn differed from your Manhattan locations and what excites you about this latest opening?
When you walk into a sweetgreen, it doesn’t feel like a copy of one in another state or even another part of the city. Each restaurant highlights unique characteristics to the community it resides in. From partnering with local artists and architects to working with furniture designers, guests feel like they’re walking into their sweetgreen, not just a sweetgreen.
With the Court Street location, we’re really excited to be in a new area of Brooklyn we’ve never been in before. The community here is close-knit and we feel lucky that we’ve been welcomed with open arms.
2) Sweetgreen has a mission to inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food. How do you work to achieve this through the food you serve?
We have an incredible culinary and supply chain team that works to find the best farmers, producers and suppliers across the country. We’re driven by our food ethos and believe that food should be sourced sustainably, which also means embracing regionality and seasonality of food.
We also believe in following mother nature’s lead – we change our seasonal menu 5 times a year to celebrate what our farmers are growing and to share with our customers that food in season tastes better.
Sweetgreen aims to educate customers about what “real food” means. One small way we do this is through our local lists. Each sweetgreen restaurant features what we call a “local list” – which is a published board for customers to see where our ingredients come from. It’s important for us to share our transparency and highlighting that we know exactly where our food comes from (i.e. that our portobello mushrooms come from Mother Earth, Pennsylvania) helps us connect with our guests in a meaningful way.
3) You recently partnered with chef Dan Barber’s Row 7 seeds to bring a nutrient-dense and more flavorful squash to the menu. Did you see a large response from customers to this idea and do you foresee more of those ingredient-driven partnerships in the future?
We actually started working with Dan back in 2014 for our wastED salad, which highlighted food scraps most people throw away. For the 3 months it was on our seasonal menu in NYC, it became the most ordered item. We realized it was the beginning of a partnership that not only spoke to our mission of connecting people to real food, but also one that customers felt passionate about too.
So when we partnered together a second time around this past November for Row 7 Seed Company, we knew our customers would be excited for round 2. Part of our food ethos has always been finding new ways to source smarter, make better decisions + help customers be a positive force in the world and on the food system and we love that our customers want to be part of mission though our partnership with Dan and Row 7. We’ll definitely have some great collaborations coming up in 2019!
4) For this new location, did you work with any local artists or makers to help bring any unique Brooklyn touches to this space?
For this store we teamed up with Brooklyn Based ‘Rooted NYC’ to help fill the space with greenery, which includes a hand picked selection of potted plants and succulents, as well as the 11’ high Ficus Tree nestled within the large built-in planter behind the banquette and stadium seating.
5) Brooklyn is gaining attention for so many of its restaurants. Any go-to’s in Brooklyn?
I’m a huge fan of Missy Robbins cooking – both Lilia + Misi. I just checked out Danny Bowien’s new Mission Chinese in Bushwick. Andrew Tarlow’s restaurants – Reynard, Marlow and Sons, Marlow and Daughters. Robertas, burger for lunch at Peter Lugers.