The Union Square/Nomad/Flatiron area has become an epicenter of health-minded, chef-driven fast-casual joints, what with Sweetgreen, Dig Inn, Danny Meyer’s Daily Provisions, Franklin Becker’s Little Beet, and Made Nice, from the team behind Eleven Madison Park. The latest entrant in the category is Tender Greens, a West Coast chain that has just opened a Union Square location, its first outside of California.
Like the similarly named Sweetgreen, Tender Greens counts Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group as an investor. And like Sweetgreen, the menu here is divided into salads and bowls (or in this case, “plates”), with the addition of sandwiches and daily specials such as slow-cooked braises and a sustainable catch of the day. As with Sweetgreen, there’s an emphasis on responsible sourcing from local purveyors. Descriptions like “free range,” “no hormones or antibiotics,” and “local” pop up on the menu, and vegan and gluten-free options are highlighted. The lobster salad features tail from Luke’s Lobster and the chicken salad uses Greenmarket produce as well as Beecher’s cheese, made right next door. There’ll be Brooklyn Brewery and Sixpoint on tap, plus Long Island wines by the glass.
As with Made Nice, there’s an open kitchen where you can watch your bowl, er, plate being assembled under the auspices of a “classically-trained chef.”
So will Tender Greens pull a Sweetgreen and sprout up all over the city? A representative for Tender Greens says they haven’t yet planned a second New York City location, but they’re “actively looking.” In the meantime, the second East Coast location will open in Boston, at 49 Boylston Street, in the spring.