Battle of the Salads: Crisp & Green vs. Sweetgreen

National, local chains compete over ingredients, price, ambiance


Zoey Ueland

Sweetgreen’s emphasis on quality ingredients is apparent in their salads and bowls, like the kale used in their Caesar salad.

Sam Tomczik and Zoey Ueland

Crisp & Green, the popular and expanding Wayzata based salad chain which first opened in 2016, is facing its first big competition: Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen, which first opened in Washington, D.C. in 2007, has restaurants that dot across the east and west coasts. Sweetgreen just opened its first location in Minnesota at the Galleria in Edina. 

In an effort to determine which restaurant was best, we tested out both in a salad marathon. To make it even, we sampled identical salads from both restaurants: the Caesar. Both salads contained romaine, tomatoes, parmesan crisps, shaved parmesan, and roasted chicken (which we swapped out for roasted tofu). Sweetgreen also added shredded kale and a lime squeeze, whereas Crisp & Green incorporated baby kale, a lemon squeeze, and sunflower seeds. We also asked for a slice of bread with the salad, complimentary at both restaurants. 

Sweetgreen prides itself on using lots of locally sourced ingredients which was evident in the salad. The kale was delicious and perfectly chopped and the tofu was flavorful and had a slight kick. The dressing had a heavy ìhintî of lime which made it slightly acidic for us but it was also a nice way to break up the flavors. Sweetgreenís complimentary bread was a generous slice of sourdough, which tasted fresh and would pair well with any salad. 

Comparatively, Crisp & Greenís salad just didnít match the quality of Sweetgreenís. They use baby kale rather than mature kale and the pumpkin seeds are not a welcomed addition. The bread provided was a half slice of dry bread which did not improve the salad. Additionally this salad was slightly more expensive. However, they mix the salad up in a separate bowl which fully coats all the ingredients in the dressing. 

While it is best to support local businesses (a branding which Crisp & Green heavily leans into), Sweetgreen proved to be the winner of our salad competition. The ambiance was more lively, the ingredients were much more fresh, there was an abundance of fun toppings, all of the accoutrements were compostable, and it was cheaper. Between the two, the competition is fierce and it will take some time to see which company comes out on top.