Health inspectors shut down Back Bay Sweetgreen

A worker prepared a salad at the Sweetgreen in the Back Bay in 2014.
A worker prepared a salad at the Sweetgreen in the Back Bay in 2014.(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/File)

City health inspectors have temporarily shuttered an upscale salad shop in the Back Bay after it racked up a host of health violations and a customer reported feeling ill.

Salad chain Sweetgreen at 659 Boylston St. initially failed a city inspection in June when it was cited for issues related to improper sanitation, keeping food at the wrong temperature, standing water on the floor, and other risks that could lead to food-borne illness, according to inspection records.

On Monday, an unidentified customer reported to the city that she had experienced diarrhea and fatigue for more than two days after eating a Sweetgreen spicy sabzi salad, a dish made with sprouts, baby greens, chicken, and quinoa, according to the records.


The illness, though not verified by the health department, prompted a reinspection on Tuesday. When additional violations were found, the city temporarily suspended the restaurant’s operating permit. The most recent violations included:

■  Gloves continuously worn by employees preparing ready-to-eat foods.

■  Containers that were in disrepair or cracked.

■  “Built up soils on ceiling and attached fixtures” in the kitchen.

The Los Angeles-based chain issued a statement Wednesday that it had made changes to its operations, including giving an employee at the Back Bay restaurant a role focused on food safety and “best-in-class culinary practices.”

It was unclear whether such practices would apply to all restaurants in the chain.

“At Sweetgreen, we have and maintain strict standard operating procedures to run our stores,” president Karen Kelley said in the statement. “Each and every team member is thoroughly trained in these measures.”

She said the company was working to get the restaurant reopened “as soon as humanly possible.” It remained unclear when that would be.

City officials said the Back Bay restaurant must be reinspected again before it can reopen.

Lisa Timberlake, a spokeswoman for Boston Inspectional Services, said the company must also work with a consultant for the next three months and submit weekly reports on its corrective actions as part of an improvement plan.


“We’ve given them these guidelines,” she said. “Hopefully this will help them get back on track and stay on track.”

Sweetgreen operates five locations in Boston. None of the others has been closed.

Megan Woolhouse can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @megwoolhouse.