“I’m deconstructing a cheeseburger and turning it into a salad,” said Andrew Swallow, 31, the executive chef of Mixt Greens in San Francisco.
Swallow’s latest creation, “the brgr,” is a burger-come-salad that consists of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Vermont cheddar, caramelized onions, bread-and-butter pickles, and American Kobe ground beef. He created it in response to the growing popularity of gourmet burgers, but put it in the context of his specialty: salads.
In his first year of business, Andrew Swallow served 50,000 pounds of lettuce. Going into his second year of business, he has already doubled his capacity, and will soon triple it.
The mission, as Swallow sees it, is to be the future of food. “It’s all about people who are looking for high-quality ingredients that are environmentally friendly,” he said. Swallowterms Mixt Greens “eco-gourmet” — environmentally conscious and organic, sustainable and recyclable. All Mixt Greens restaurants are in LEED-certified green buildings, all salad ingredients are seasonal and organic, 85 percent of daily waste is diverted from landfills, and all take-away packaging is made from a corn biopolymer, which is 100 percent compostable.
“We don’t do it because it’s trendy; we do it because we think it’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Swallow said.
One trend that Swallow will accept is that to run a successful business, it’s necessary to have a Web site and a domain name that matches the name of your business.
“Someone else already owned [the] ‘Mixed Greens’ [domain name],” Swallow said. On a whim, Swallow’s sister grabbed the Scrabble dictionary. In it she found “mixt” — the same meaning as “mixed” — and nobody had the domain name yet.
Thus, the restaurant became “Mixt Greens.”
Swallow, working with his sister and brother-in-law, opened the first Mixt Greens on April 17, 2006, and the second June 4. The third is scheduled to open in March 2008. They also are looking to expand to other cities on the West Coast and potentially offer a dinner menu.
“I will grow this concept as large as I can without sacrificing the food and experience of this restaurant,” Swallow said.
Swallow, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, manages the culinary and operational aspects of the restaurants; his sister, Leslie Silverglide, who has an MS in biodiversity, conservation and management from the University of Oxford, manages the business and conservation aspects; and his brother-in-law, David Silverglide, who has an MBA from the University of Oxford, takes care of marketing.
New project: 560 Mission St. (pending)
Last project: 475 Sansome St.
Number of e-mails a day: 15
Number of voice mails a day: 8
Essential Web site: Google
Best perk: Working for myself
Gadgets: The smoking gun (smoker)
Education: Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.
First job: Lifeguard
Original aspiration: Doctor
Career objective: To be a leader in the restaurant industry
Hometown: Chatham, N.J.
Sports/hobbies: Snowboarding, sportfishing, golf
Transportation: Triumph, Bonneville
Favorite restaurant: Avec in Chicago
Vacation spot: Pentwater, Mich.
Favorite clothier: Lacoste
Reading: “Omnivores Dilemma”
Worst fear: To be eaten by a Great White shark
Motivation: Freedom to do what I enjoy