This year, Restaurant Hospitality collected the 25 most powerful multiconcept operators across the country, or what we call the RH 25. With this list, there is no ranking. All 25 are powerful, and all 25 are companies to watch. See all concepts >>
Leadership: Troy Guard, chef and owner; Nikki Guard, beverage director and owner; Jason Borders, director of operations and partner; Chris Lotterer, executive vice president and partner
Concepts: TAG; Bubu (2 units); TAG Burger Bar; Guard and Grace; Los Chingones (3 units); Mister Tuna; HashTAG
Group systemwide sales: $21.5 million in fiscal 2016; $31 million projected for fiscal 2017
What’s new: FNG opening in fall 2017
Cramming it all in
Troy Guard likes to use the phrase “continental social food” to describe what he does at his TAG Restaurant Group.
By that he means food unconstrained by national boundaries. “Social food” comes from TAG’s open kitchens and sharable dishes.
Guard also likes to give people something to talk about.
A signature dish at the restaurant TAG, for example, includes a simple presentation of fresh, flash-seared Hamachi tuna in yuzu white soy. But Guard garnishes the dish with Pop Rocks to give it a sweet kick.
As a group, TAG is growing.
In March, a second location of fast-casual Bubu opened in the Denver area with build-your-own and signature bowls.
In June, a third location of the “badass” Mexican concept Los Chingones opened in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood.
The original Los Chingones in Denver’s arts district will also grow this fall with the addition of Los Lounge, replacing the adjacent SugarMill that closed in May.
In July, Guard opened a casual breakfast concept called HashTAG with dishes like lamb necks Benedict, creative hashes, pastries and boozy breakfast cocktails.
In August, HashTAG planned to launch a rotisserie-to-go program on weekdays, offering whole chickens and two sides.
Next up this fall is FNG, which is short for “F’in Good,” in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood, which is described as a social gathering destination and local hangout with elevated interpretations of comfort food favorites, largely informed by the wood-fired grill.
In a twist, FNG will include a market selling a selection of housemade prepared foods.
Guard said he didn’t mean to cram so much in this year, but some projects were pushed back from last year.
That doesn’t mean he plans to stop.
Another one or two concepts will open in 2018, and another two to four in 2019.