Sweetgreen's Caramelized Garlic Steak earns a spot on the permanent menu

In test, the new protein option made up 20% of dinnertime orders, the daypart the fast casual is targeting for growth.
steak promotion
Caramelized Garlic Steak rolled out on Sweetgreen's menu nationwide on Tuesday. | Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen.

Sweetgreen announced Tuesday that Caramelized Garlic Steak is rolling out nationwide on the permanent menu.

During the test at 22 locations in Boston earlier this year, one out of five Sweetgreen customers chose the steak as a protein option at dinnertime. It was offered in three chef-curated items: the Steakhouse Chopped Bowl, Steak Kale Caesar salad and Caramelized Garlic Steak protein plate. The steak can also be added to any custom bowl or salad.

The fast casual has made no secret that it’s aiming to build dinnertime traffic and sales by introducing heartier, more protein-centric and warm ingredients. It seems to be working; in general, 35% of customers are now ordering Sweetgreen for dinner, according to data from the company.

Sweetgreen chef Chad Brauze developed the recipe for Caramelized Garlic Steak using grass-fed, pasture-raised beef that he treats to fine-dining techniques. The tri-tip cut is seasoned with a garlic-spice blend, then roasted to achieve a deep caramelized char on the outside and a juicy, tender center inside. Then it’s tossed with caramelized, house-roasted garlic and onions for another layer of flavor.

On the protein plate, Brauze pairs sliced steak with wild rice, warm roasted sweet potatoes, spicy broccoli, tomatoes and pesto vinaigrette. The Caesar salad features the steak combined with shredded kale, chopped romaine, tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crunchy Parmesan crisps and classic Caesar dressing. For the warm Steakhouse Chopped Bowl, chopped romaine, herbed quinoa, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, crispy onions, blue cheese and green goddess ranch dressing partner with the steak.

In a LinkedIn post, Sweetgreen co-founder and chief concept officer Nicolas Jammet wrote that the decision to add grass-fed, pasture-raised beef “aligns with our dedication to regenerative agriculture, promoting environmental benefits such as enhanced land management and carbon sequestration.

“With a deep commitment to animal welfare and sourcing from farmers who rear their animals in the most carbon efficient manner, finding the Sweetgreen way to source steak in our restaurants took time, but we believe that doing it the right way is always worth the effort,” Jammet wrote.

This is the first time Sweetgreen has offered beef on its menu at all, with chicken, salmon and steelhead trout the main animal protein choices previously.

“As we innovate our menu, we’ve always believed in listening to our customers to deliver more of what our guests want, which is why we’re excited to introduce this high-quality, tender cut of steak across our restaurants. We also saw steak as a natural addition to our menu as we expand our protein-focused, nutrient-dense, and hearty options,” Jammet posted.

Beef fans will have to pay a little more for steak than chicken. In Boston, the three new steak-focused menu items range from $17.25-$18.25, while chicken-based bowls and salads are just under $16.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Emerging Brands

5 pre-emerging restaurant brands ready for takeoff

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.


This little-known iPhone feature could change restaurant ordering

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


More from our partners