The Sweet Life

What’s the deal with the trend of putting the word “sweet” into all of my favorite restaurants? From Thai food to froyo, evidently being “sweet” is all the rage. And last night I met up with Reema to try out a new-to-me one!


Welcome to Sweetleaf, a locally-owned fast-casual place that focuses on fresh salads, sandwiches, and a few other treats. They have two locations right now, one in McLean (the original) and one in Vienna (brand new!) It reminded me a lot of my beloved Sweetgreen, just with a more expansive menu and more of a cafe-like feel, as Sweetleaf (oy, that’s gonna get confusing) offers coffee, smoothies, baked goods, ice cream, AND froyo.


Reema and I faced a slight debacle where we each ended up at a different location, her in Vienna, me in Mclean (typical us.) Luckily they weren’t that far apart from each other! While I waited for her to join me, I killed time by taking a few pictures of the decor and ambiance, which I found very charming.


They had a hot sauce bar I have only dreamt of…


Unfortunately, the employees of this particular Sweetleaf apparently were not charmed by Gretchen the Photographer, and after just a few clicks told me that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I was admittedly a little taken aback by being, well, scolded. I’d heard of food bloggers being told they weren’t allowed to take pictures in restaurants, but it usually happens in swanky, romantic, dimly-lit hot spots where the celebrity chef is worried that it’ll ruin the atmosphere, not small local cafes!

Shamefaced, I immediately took to Twitter to vent just a li’l…

And within minutes, maybe even seconds, I had a response from Sweetleaf management! Talk about your customer service.

I called him after Reema and I parted ways, and he was very apologetic, which I appreciated. I’m definitely not the kind of person who wants to cause a ruckus or make a big stink about anything, so I felt kind of bad about calling, but it was probably a good thing in the end. He explained that they’ve had issues with people taking photos in the past (oh, we nefarious photogs!), but was upset on my behalf that I felt uncomfortable. He offered to send me a giftcard so that I could come back to Sweetleaf and try the whole experience again.


Despite any lingering atmospheric drama, the sandwich I ordered was tasty (clearly my listening skills aren’t so good, since I took a picture of my sandwich after I was told to stop anyway, hahaha.) I got one of their daily specials, The Scottish, which was essentially lox on bread (toasted wheat bread, cream cheese, red onion, and capers) and thus kinda perfect for me, haha.

My only gripe about the food experience is that when I asked if I could have lettuce & tomato on my sandwich, I was told it’d be 50 cents extra… for each item! I can appreciate trying to make a buck as much as anybody, but if you tell me that a single leaf of lettuce costs 50 cents I will laugh in your face.

Which I did.

So she gave me the lettuce anyway. 😀

Because you know I’m a sucker for local establishments in general, especially those that serve fresh salads AND cupcakes (teehee) I’ll definitely be giving them another shot. Besides, I didn’t even get to order dessert this time around! If you’re local, you should give them a try, but I’d suggest maybe paying a visit to the new Vienna location since it seems like most of their energy is being focused there right now (though they need to update their website, as the only address on it is still for the McLean one… hence the aforementioned location debacle, haha.)

Have you ever been told you can’t take pictures in a restaurant? Since I hardly ever use the flash on my camera anymore, I’m usually not deterred by the thought of being annoying to anyone other than my own party (and by now they should be used to it anyway! Haha.) I’d be interested to hear about your own in-restaurant camera policy, and whether you’ve ever experienced the same!