- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2007

Washingtonians won’t have to worry about getting their leafy greens: A number of companies are planning to open restaurants in the area that focus on salads.

Rabbit food gets the spotlight in these new restaurants, which say they want to open in the District because of the city’s fast-paced, healthy lifestyle.

Sweetgreen opened its doors in Georgetown at the site of the old Little Tavern earlier this month. The salad and yogurt shop sells chef-designed salads and gives customers the option of making their own. Sweetgreen also sells “sweetflow” frozen yogurt, which is sweetened with fruit instead of artificial ingredients.

“We wanted to create a unique retail concept that embodied the ‘fast casual’ approach to quick and convenient eating, but we’re making it healthy, totally fresh and hip with our space,” said Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Neman, who founded the company with Nicolas Jammet and Nathaniel Ru, all recent Georgetown University graduates.

Much of the food is organic and the store’s decor is environmentally friendly, with recycled hickory walls and high-efficiency lighting designed by Core Architecture + Design, which is also in Georgetown.

Sweetgreen, located at 3333 M St. NW, charges $6 to $9 for a salad.

Another new salad restaurant is Chop’t Creative Salad Co., which specializes in custom-made salads chopped rapidly with mezzaluna, or “half-moon-shaped” knives. Customers can design their own salads from more than 60 ingredients or choose a salad designed by the chefs.

“Chopping all the salad ingredients together allows their different flavors and textures to intermingle with each bite, making our salads that much more delicious and easier to eat,” said co-founder and owner Colin McCabe.

Chop’t, which originated in New York, offers 26 types of homemade salad dressing and can turn any of the salads into sandwiches made with flatbread. Salads run from $5.99 to $10.99.

Chop’t expects to open at 730 Seventh St. NW next month.

Other salad chains hoping to make a lettuce trail into the Washington area include Salad Creations and Tossed.

Salad Creations has opened in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, with plans to open stores in the District. Salad Creations customers can design their salad or choose a mix off the shelf. The restaurant also sells wrap sandwiches, soups and smoothies.

Tossed, which also started in New York, is scouting the D.C. area for locations. It, too, sells pre-designed and custom-made salads.

“Salad is healthy, and you can build your own, giving consumers more of a choice,” said Dan Hicks, vice president of franchise development, speaking on why salads are taking off in the D.C. area and in other major cities.

Mr. Hicks said he expects the chain to open 10 to 15 restaurants in the area. The company doesn’t have any signed leases but expects to by the end of the year.

With all of that rabbit food, there’s always the risk of some of it ending up between your teeth. Inspect yourself at one of the convenient tabletop mini-mirrors at Chop’t.

Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Contact Jen Haberkorn at jhaberkorn@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-4836.



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