Sweetgreen, the vibe-y salad bowl company that has captured millennial hearts nationwide, is coming to Seattle. Well, first it’s coming to Kirkland — the initial Seattle-area location will open on Tuesday, January 16 at the Village at Totem Lake mall. This will be followed by locations in South Lake Union and Capitol Hill later this year, according to Sweetgreen.
Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by a trio of Washington, D.C. business school grads and quickly expanded — by 2018, it was valued at over $1 billion, and today has a market cap of $1.25 billion (it went public in 2021). It’s frequently described as “mission-driven,” meaning it wants to do things like reduce its carbon footprint, donate to food banks, and utilize local ingredients in all of its markets. (In Seattle, it’ll be working with Macrina Bakery and Vashon’s Island Spring Organics, among other suppliers.) Until 2016, it hosted a music festival at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, and the founders hope to one day have robots working in all their stores. In other words, it’s sort of a restaurant chain; sort of a “food platform,” to quote one of its founders; and very much a tech company.
Even with all that going on, the East Coast chain hasn’t expanded to the Pacific Northwest. Previously, the closest Sweetgreen to Seattle was in the Bay Area. But are not Seattle metro area office workers human? Do they not bleed when you prick them, do they not say “ping” too much, do they not crave a salad with za’atar or whatever in it for lunch, served in a compostable bowl?
The arrival of Sweetgreen is a big deal for Seattle especially because the city is short on fast casual healthy-ish chains, which in some cities are as common as traffic. There’s no Cava and no Chopt, though South Lake Union did score a Mendocino Farms location last year. Maybe 2024 will be the year of the fancy-ish chain salad?
The Totem Lake Sweetgreen will be holding a grand opening party on January 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Guests will get complimentary tote bags, a floral bar from a local florist, and treats from the SweetSide bakery. For each meal sold on opening day, the company will donate a meal to nonprofit Northwest Harvest. The address is 11900 NE Village Plaza Suite 164 in Kirkland.