by Kait Schuster, Staff Writer, April 2021

It’s Friday evening, you’re coming home from a late practice, and you’re starving! You stop at Legacy Place for a quick, healthy meal to bring home. What will it be — Sweetgreen or Cava?

It is clear not only from their vast menu of salads but also the delicious side dishes that Sweetgreen is the superior choice. It’s not just a salad place; it is so much more. You want pesto? You got it! How about guacamole? Of course! Maybe some Green Goddess or buffalo chicken? Well, they have it! The wide range of flavors in salads ranging from Caesar salads to fish taco salads to miso bowls makes Sweetgreen an option for anyone’s flavor palate. 

You cannot say the same for Cava. That is not to say that Cava still isn’t a great option if you want “Mediterranean-food-meets-Chipotle,” but other than that, you are seriously limited. You need to know the kind of food you want beforehand if you’re going to Cava, but you can have all the freedom in the world at Sweetgreen in terms of a wide variety of flavors. 

You also aren’t just limited to a salad or a bowl at Sweetgreen like how you are at Cava. The rosemary focaccia is a must, and the hot honey chicken plate is perfect for any anti-salad human. It’s also a bit easy to fall into the cilantro trap at Cava if you are a cilantro-despiser, like me. With cilantro popping up in random dressings like the Lemon Herb Tahini or the Skhug and even in the falafel, it can be hard to know if you’re actually adding cilantro to your bowl if you aren’t particularly familiar with what Skhug is or which herbs are in the Tahini dressing. This can lead to a ruined bowl, and you are still starving! 

That is a problem you will never have at Sweetgreen because all the salad toppings are straightforward and mostly cilantro-free. (I personally know to avoid the lime cilantro jalapeno vinaigrette!) Sweetgreen is also perfect for the pickiest eaters who may just want a bowl of rice and parmesan crisps — this is a judgement-free restaurant. 

Another added plus is the huge range of plant-based options and proteins. At Sweetgreen, you can have tofu, lentils, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds for some vegan protein, while your only plant-based protein at Cava is falafel. This is okay if you are a falafel lover, but it may get old pretty quickly. If you aren’t a falafel lover and are looking for a plant-based protein, then you are out of luck at Cava. 

Sweetgreen additionally has special flavorful additions perfect for every season of the year. I am dying to try the new Rustic Tomato Harvest Bowl. The Buffalo Chicken Bowl was so popular that it went on the core menu. You also have the option to have a warm or cold bowl, while at Cava, you must always have a hot bowl, which is less appealing in warmer weather.

Sweetgreen’s app also makes ordering ahead super easy (especially in these Covid times), and I’ve yet to see someone use the Cava app — if it even exists. At Sweetgreen, it’s also easier to pick up everything you need to enjoy your salad by putting the to-go utensils right at the front of the store, while Cava is seemingly always out of forks, leaving me to eat my bowl with a spoon. It is the little things that make Sweetgreen the overall better choice. 

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