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We tried 2 hugely popular coastal salad chains that are being fueled by millions in VC money — and the winner is unmistakable


Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Tender Greens, a hugely popular West Coast lunch spot known for its salads, has opened its first East Coast location in NYC.
  • It could be a huge threat to Sweetgreen, another wildly popular salad chain with firm roots in eastern US cities.
  • We compared the two, and Tender Greens’ quality and preparation easily outshine the competition’s.

The upscale side of to-go, fast-casual salads is dominated by two giants: Sweetgreen and Tender Greens.

Both chains began at within a year of each other — Sweetgreen in 2007, Tender Greens in 2006. And both chains have received funding from some big names — Sweetgreen landed two rounds of funding from a venture capital fund founded by AOL co-founder and chairman Steve Case, and Tender Greens managed to grab the attention of Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer.

But while Washington, DC-based Sweetgreen has bloomed into a major bi-coastal player in urban markets, Tender Greens has stayed on the West Coast. That is, until now.

Tender Greens’ first East Coast incursion has opened in NYC, with two locations in Boston planned to open soon — and many West Coast transplants were excited. Business Insider’s Melia Robinson reviewed the chain and was blown away by the experience.

But does the chain have the chops to take on East Coast salad darling Sweetgreen?

What do you think?

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