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Meet the Cool, Stylish Guys Behind LA's Sweetest New Salad Bar

L-R: Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman. Photos by Bethany Nauert.
L-R: Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman. Photos by Bethany Nauert.

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After years of serving clean, creative salads and bowls to stylish East Coasters, today sweetgreen has finally landed in Los Angeles. The art-infused space is located on ever-bustling stretch West 3rd Street (Santa Monica is next!), offering the ideal place to refuel in-between shopping jaunts.

As if sweetgreen LA's inspiring interior, seasonal menu selects, healthy mainstays, and build-your-own salad bar weren't enough to get you hooked, get to know the culinary lifestyle brand's cool, 30-year-old founders: Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman. Here, we drill the trio about all things LA, from menu exclusives (yes, there's a Hollywood Bowl) to favorite local boutiques to rad collabs.

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What inspired you to finally open a sweetgreen in our city?

We have dreamed about bringing the sweetlife to California, specifically Los Angeles, since starting sweetgreen in DC in 2007. Two of us grew up here in Southern California, so it has felt like our homecoming in a way. While it's taken us nearly eight years to open a sweetgreen here, we wanted to do it in the best locations and in the right way. Since day one, the LA lifestyle has inspired what we consider the sweetlife (a commitment to better living, inspired by passion and purpose).

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What sets sweetgreen apart from other health-minded eateries?

sweetgreen is all about creating experiences where passion and purpose come together. From the beginning we wanted to change the way people live their lives, starting with how they think about food. We're aiming to build a brand that not only offers farm-fresh food that's sourced locally, sustainably and thoughtfully, but also makes an impact on the local neighborhood and the leaves the community better off than we found it. Through this idea, we created sweetgreen in schools, which educates kids in our local communities about nutrition, sustainability, seasonality, fitness and eco-literacy through fun, hands-on activities.

We're also huge music and wellness fans, so one of our biggest celebrations of the sweetlife is our annual sweetlife Food and Music Festival, where we make meaningful connections with others while enjoying great music, delicious local food, awesome art installations and yoga.

Do you have any plans to host a sweetlife Food and Music Festival in LA?

For now, it's been our tradition to host the festival in our collegiate backyard (right outside of DC) at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. But, who knows what the future holds! [Psst: For a mini taste of sweetlife's vibe, sweetgreen is hosting an LA block party on Thursday, June 4th! Learn more here.]

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Are there any LA exclusives on the menu?

We're excited to have two exclusive dishes that will live in our signature menu: the West Roast salad and Hollywood Bowl. Since they'll be on our menu all year round, both include the best produce from California that's always in season.

For the early summer, we have three seasonally-driven salads that will be on our LA menus through July. Those include our Mexican corn "elote" bowl, o.m.g. omega salad and strawberries + humboldt fog salad. Our seasonal menu changes five times a year based on what we're sourcing from our producers and our farmers, as we're inspired by the growing seasons and aim to include as many seasonal ingredients as we can. We believe that food simply tastes best when it's in season.

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What are your favorite interior highlights of this location?

We're really excited about the gallery wall that we collaborated on with LA's Tappan Collective—it reflects nature's progression through the seasons, which is inspired by our seasonal menu. The structure of the building and simple design of the space makes it feel really open, and allows for customers (and us) to appreciate the beauty of our open kitchen, which displays all of our food and produce. The natural light is a huge plus, too!

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You guys have great personal style. What are your go-to fashion brands?

We typically wear Acne, A.P.C., and Outdoor Voices. In the past couple years, we've become huge fans of The Arrivals; they offer supremely elevated outerwear at an honest price. That combination of style and transparency really resonates with us.

To celebrate the 2015 sweetlife festival (May 30th and 31st), sweetgreen and The Arrivals teamed up to create a limited edition jacket recognizing this year's performance lineup. We collaborated on the classic leather biker jacket made from supple white leather that features a green silk interior lining highlighting the official sweetlife performance lineup.

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Do you have any favorite LA shops?

LA has always been a true inspiration for us, from our style to the way we live the sweetlife. That sentiment is reflected in our favorite LA boutiques, Garrett Leight and Milkmade.

Besides your Tappan Collective gallery wall, are there any other LA-based collaborations/projects in the works?

We're excited to get to know our West 3rd neighbors and larger LA community. We don't have anything to share about upcoming LA-based collaborations now though, but keep an eye out in the next few months. We're sure to have something up our sleeves!

sweetgreen opens today, May 21st, from 10am to 10pm.

Sweetgreen LA

8055 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA