Any New Yorker worth her metro card knows that the opening of a new restaurant is more than enough reason to throw a great party. And when that restaurant is the latest organic on-the-go enabler, Sweetgreen, the vibe of the event needs to suit the sustainably focussed brand's ethos while creating all the buzz warranted by its urbane location and style-savvy clientele. So with a date set in late November for the opening of a gleaming storefront on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Sweetgreen called on the talented designers of The Studio at One Kings Lane to conjure a modern-rustic dinner party for the books.
The result? A contemporary twist on farm-to-table dining, with the modern-day agriculturalist as their inspiration. We chatted with Alyssa Lewis, a designer with The Studio, and Chef Michael Stebner, Sweetgreen's Director of Culinary Innovation, to talk ambiance, food, table setting, and more. Read on to see how to nab the style (and the pros' insidery insights) for your own gathering.
The Menu: "The dinner was a fall feast, highlighting the produce that appears on our autumn menu—curried cauliflower, roasted brussels sprouts, apples and pears, and a roasted steelhead filet," says Stebner.
The Meal: "The dinner was served family-style, which speaks to the sense of community we cultivate at Sweetgreen."
The Drinks: "We served our trademark Sweetlife rosé, as well as a Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc."
The Strategy: "Sweetgreen has a modern farmer mantra," says Lewis. "Keeping this in mind, I felt a more natural, farm-to-table look could be achieved with leafy eucalyptus garland that ran the entire length of the table."
The Materials: "I used garlands with three different types of eucalyptus—silver dollar, seeded, and baby blue—along with blue thistle to add a bit of different texture and color."
The Arrangement: "Sweetgreen has an event motto of 'creating sharable moments.' Keeping the centerpieces closer to the table creates an opportunity for easy interactions across the table."
THE TABLE SETTING
The Look: Lewis describes the scene as "simple, but rustic—clean with modern lines."
The Color Palette: "I really felt that is was important to keep Sweetgreen's brand in mind, which uses a lot of neutrals and lets the colors of the food speak. [We used] natural woods, live greenery, white linens, brass, with pops of silver."
The Accents: "One Kings Lane has an array of beautiful tabletop items, but matching the simple, clean yet natural look that Sweetgreen has cultivated was very important. I chose to bring in that hint of nature through our natural linen napkins and runners, silver flatware with modern lines, and classic white plates. The end goal was to create a table setting that truly exhibited what the chef had created."
Do's & Don'ts: "Always be a gracious host, introduce your guests to one another, and never forget the vino!" says Lewis.
Setting the Mood: "Use candles in lanterns or glass, and lots of them! They will always make a table look beautiful and create atmosphere," says Lewis. "Also, consider splitting up couples and friends to help create new friendships."