University of Wisconsin–Madison students flocked to State Street on Sept. 21 to try Madison’s newest salad restaurant: Sweetgreen. The nationwide phenomenon opened its doors in a convenient location next to Chipotle, bringing a promise of free goodies to celebrate its opening day.
Excitement was in the air surrounding the store opening. Days before the storefront welcomed the general public, several students signed up to receive a promotional deal. The marketing technique, which most likely was for employee training and to get the word about the restaurant, was a big success in the eyes of Madison students.
“We signed up for the free Sweetgreeen meal promotion,” said Annie Hammel, a UW-Madison sophomore. “I had never been before, so it was very exciting to walk into the brand new establishment.”
The fast-casual salad chain prides itself on “building healthier communities by connecting people to real food,” and has a variety of different items on its menu, ranging from salads to warm bowls to plates and even kids meals.
Jonathan Newman, Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO, said the restaurant’s goal is universal across their locations.
“This past July, we put down roots in Wisconsin as part of our national expansion, delivering on our mission to connect people to real food across the country," Neman told The Daily Cardinal. “As our third location in Wisconsin, we're excited to provide a convenient option for quality, delicious meals to all UW-Madison Badgers and the greater Madison community.”
But with the opening of a new salad restaurant, many wonder what Sweetgreen will contribute to a campus that already has its fair share of salad and health-oriented restaurants.
The behind-the-counter service of a salad bar filled with many ingredients might look extremely similar to some. Madison students' other favorite salad place, Forage Kitchen, has an almost identical setup just across the street from Sweetgreen.
Forage enthusiast Ellie Herrald, a junior at UW-Madison, couldn’t help but express her concern about what the opening of the major salad chain will do to the local establishment she’s grabbed lunch from for years.
“As much as I’m excited for Sweetgreen, I wish we got a different type of food in that location rather than competing with an already really established and sufficient place like Forage,” Herrald said. “I really hope Sweetgreen doesn’t excite the crowds and run Forage out of business.”
I’ve tried Forage and Sweetgreen several times and still find myself unable to choose an overall favorite. Both places offer fresh and tasty options for a reasonable price. In my eyes, the introduction of Sweetgreen to Madison is simply bringing another nutritious option to the table.
So enjoy your salads and bowls, Madison! You now have yet another great choice thrown into the mix!