Sweetgreen tests a new protein, a first for the chain

The healthy fast casual launches Caramelized Garlic Steak in 22 locations, available in three chef-curated menu items.
Caramelized Garlic Steak is featured in three items—a salad, a warm bowl and a protein plate—on menus in the Boston area. | Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen.

Sweetgreen announced the test of its first-ever steak option, launching Tuesday in 22 locations across Boston, Mass.  

Guests in that market will be able to try Caramelized Garlic Steak in three chef-crafted items: the Steakhouse Chopped bowl, Steak Kale Caesar salad and a Caramelized Garlic Steak protein plate. The new menu ingredient features cuts of grass-fed tri-tip sirloin steak finished with a blend of slow-roasted caramelized garlic and onions.

“Sweetgreen is known for combining simple, well-sourced ingredients with in-house culinary skill to bring our guests the best tasting food,” said Chef Chad Brauze, the fast casual's head of culinary, in a statement. “The key ingredient in our test menu is the premium, super-tender tri-tip steak that we toss with perfectly caramelized, house-roasted garlic and onions. Our new Caramelized Garlic Steak will take any of our plates, bowls, and salads to the next level.”

Customers can add the steak to any bowl or salad on the menu or choose one of the items curated by Brauze and his team. The warm Steakhouse Chopped bowl combines the steak with quinoa, crispy onions, blue cheese and Sweetgreen’s signature green goddess dressing, while the Steak Kale Caesar features kale, romaine, Parmesan crisps and a hint of lemon tossed with the chain’s proprietary Caesar dressing.

For the protein plate, Caramelized Garlic Steak is accompanied by wild rice, roasted sweet potatoes and spicy broccoli and arugula, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.

“Our commitment to craveability is all about testing new and exciting menu items with our fans,” Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen’s co-founder and chief concept officer, said in a statement. "Caramelized Garlic Steak delivers everything our guests love about Sweetgreen—high-quality ingredients with delicious and satisfying flavors.”

Sweetgreen has been actively beefing up the menu to dispel its perception as “just a salad concept” and attract more of the dinner crowd. In October, the Los Angeles-based chain rolled out three heartier but healthful entrees, featuring proteins such as miso-glazed salmon, a Southwest fajita plate with herb-roasted chicken thighs and a hot honey chicken plate. In addition to substantial protein portions, some items included double servings of grains. At the time, Jammet said about 35% of the chain’s sales come after 4 p.m., but that number could be lower in urban locations.

Those three dinner plates retailed for $14 to $16, but the new steak items will run a little higher, most probably due to rising beef prices this year. Sweetgreen estimated the three menu items will range from $14.95-$17.15.

This story has been updated with more current information. 

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