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Unplugged Under 40: Living the Sweet Life

Three years ago, Nate Ru, Jonathan Neman and Nic Jammet were sitting in their dorm rooms at Georgetown University looking for a quick, affordable and healthy place to eat.

"We decided let's just do it ourselves," explains Jammet in today's episode of "Washington Unplugged."

Today, they are leading 200 employees in six Sweetgreen shops around the Washington area.

"We're more than just a restaurant," Ru says, "we're a lifestyle brand. We like to call it the Sweet Life."

At Sweetgreen, you make your way down a quick and efficient assembly line, build a salad from a selection of local and organic ingredients or have one of their signature salads rolled into a wrap. Their deconstructed version of guacamole -- "Guacamole Greens" -- is the most popular item on the menu.

Jammet says they want customers "to feel good about their decision of eating here. We want them to kind of trust us and know that coming to Sweetgreen is a place where you can do no wrong and you can have a healthy meal and enjoy yourself."

Earlier this summer they opened the doors to a Capitol Hill shop. On Friday, they will launch in Reston, Va. in the Washington suburbs.

"One of our core values internally is sustainability," Neman says, "and that's not about eco-friendliness. It's about making decisions that are sustainable."

Those decisions have shaped their business from the ground up. The menu of salads, wraps and all-natural yogurt is built around fresh ingredients from local farms. The tables in the Capitol Hill store are made from reclaimed wood from old bowling alley lanes. The lighting and kitchen equipment is energy efficient and the packaging is compostable.

They say the goal is twelve locations by 2012, but their focus remains quality, not quantity.

"It's not really about how many, it really isn't," Neman assures me. "It's about having an impact on the communities we go to."

Watch the video from today's "Washington Unplugged" above.

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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