Our colleagues at Nation’s Restaurant News recently selected their fourth class of Breakout Brands, restaurant concepts that are bringing customers a unique experience, tapping into hot trends and taking innovative approaches to food and service. We wanted to share their picks with you.
3 Arts Club Café
3 Arts Club Café
The 3 Arts Club Café — a restaurant, coffee bar and wine bar located inside home decor giant Restoration Hardware’s landmark Three Arts Club building in Chicago — is the result of a collaboration between Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc., and Brendan Sodikoff, chef and CEO of Hogsalt Hospitality. Friedman said the restaurant, which opened last fall, is already on track to do $5 million in annual sales.
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By Chloe is a fast-casual vegan spot by ESquared Hospitality, parent company of the BLT restaurants. Co-owner Chloe Coscarelli founded the restaurant because she saw a need for delicious, accessible food that didn’t happen to have any meat in it. The chain’s broad menu of burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads is designed to appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.
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Eatsa is a modern take on the automat that pairs advanced technology with healthful food options. Customers order quinoa bowls and pay via iPads, then their food is made fresh in the back and delivered to glass cases for pick up. The service model allows the chain to serve 300 to 400 diners per hour during peak times. Eatsa currently has locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and aims to open 10 more this year.
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Phoenix, Ariz.-based Fox Restaurant Concept’s latest restaurant brand is Flower Child, which founder Sam Fox calls “a full-service restaurant disguised as a fast-casual restaurant.” The three-unit fast-casual chain offers a seasonal menu of wraps, salads, bowls and sides with an emphasis on gluten-free, organic and hormone-free ingredients. Three new locations are planned this year in California and Texas.
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Havana 1957 was created by the Vida & Estilo Restaurant Group and highlights a Cuban-inspired menu at four casual-dining locations in the Miami area. The concept offers hearty island cuisine and an extensive mojito bar in an eclectic atmosphere designed to channel mid-century Cuba.
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Intelligentsia Coffee taps into the growing super-premium coffee trend with 10 locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. In 2015, the brand was acquired by Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a move that brought Chicago-based Intelligentsia into the portfolio of Peet’s parent JAB Holding Co., which also owns Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Caribou Coffee and the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc.
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Fast-casual Sweetfin Poké, located in Santa Monica, Calif., specializes in the Hawaiian fresh-fish dish poke. Guests create custom bowls from their choice of fish, noodles, toppings and sauces. Five more locations are expected to open in the Los Angeles area this year. In 2015 won the support of some powerful investors, including former Shake Shack CEO David Swinghamer and longtime industry veteran Larry Mindel, founder of Il Fornaio and other concepts.
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Tava Kitchen, which has three units in the Bay Area, specializes in made-to-order bowls and wraps featuring Indian-inspired flavors. The service line is modeled after Chipotle Mexican Grill. Customers build their own bowls and “burrotis” from a choice of proteins, vegetables and house-made sauces. The chain received $4.5 million in funding last year and now plans to expand, starting with the Denver market.
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Uchi includes three full-service restaurants in Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas, serving sophisticated fine-dining menus based on Japanese traditions. The menu, designed by founder and chef Tyson Cole offers a variety of tasting plates, sushi and sashimi, grilled yakimono proteins and tempura. Tasting plates range between $12 and $22. The popular chef’s tasting menus are market priced, often around $100 per person.
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Xi'an Famous Foods
Xi’an Famous Foods is a fast-casual chain in New York City, specializing in the spicy lamb dishes of the ancient Chinese capital of Xi’an in north-central China. Its distinctive noodle dishes, dumplings and lamb burgers draw long lines during lunch. The chain, owned father-and-son team David Shi and Jason Wang, currently has nine locations.
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