I met the guys from Sweetgreen a few years back when I first came to DC -- their chain of salad bars was already a success, but not like today. This week they opened the 17th Sweetgreen and announced plans to open in NYC. It is a remarkable achievement for a group of seniors at Georgetown who started out simply wanting to create a place where they would like to eat themselves.
DC has never been known as a food town. Yes, there are a string of chef Jose Andres' restaurants, but for something a little more accessible and everyday it has always lacked options. But to me what is inspiring about Jon, Nick and Nate is not so much the salad bar concept or really that they decided to start it in DC (where there was clearly a market); it is that they have created a business around their lifestyle. They wanted good, healthy, locally sourced food, so they opened their own place. They love music, so then they started the Sweetlife festival, now one of the country's best attended by both artists and fans. It is that reason why I wanted to talk to them for RE:find and hear their tips on their adopted city.
I'd been to DC a number of times and I've eaten well there each time, even in the dead of winter. Perhaps it was because I was in the company of chefs and knew the ins and outs of the farmers markets there (there are now 20 in the city). Being in DC for RE:find I already had my little list of places I liked to eat and I have to admit that I had never been to any of the places the Sweetgreen guys recommended, so it was fun to check out a list of the unusual suspects. Ramen served in skater surrounds, hole-in-the-wall Thai, the kind of places I had not associated with dining in DC. From the guys I got another take on what it is to eat in DC, which, considering their original motivation for Sweetgreen, should hardly come as a surprise.
The guys suggest you eat at Little Serow, Toki Underground, DGS Delicatessen and Rogue 24 when you're in DC.