There are people who dream of opening restaurants around the world. And there are people who want to stay focused on home.
Across the country, there are growing multiconcept groups populating their cities or greater metropolitan areas with independent restaurants that stand out. These are groups that may not be national names, but in their own respective necks of the woods, they run restaurants locals know and love.
They are the regional powerhouses of dining.
Some are close to growing beyond their home borders, while others are very deliberately staying within their regional wheelhouse. There are advantages to being a pillar of the local dining scene and truly understanding the needs and desires of a community, they say.
“The community takes you more seriously if you make more than one restaurant commitment,” said Jason Berry, co-founder and principal of Knead Hospitality + Design in Washington, D.C. “They see you digging in and not just opening one restaurant in D.C. that you’re never going to visit. You see the media focusing much more on who’s legitimately interested in being a part of a community and who’s a fly-by-night trying to suck out a few bucks.”
Strategies differ somewhat, but these regional operators agree: There is a huge benefit to having all concepts within easy driving distance. Living on planes isn’t fun, and being there is half the battle in the daily quest for well-run restaurants.
Over the next two weeks, Restaurant Hospitality will profile each of these companies. Here's the line up of 12 restaurant groups dominating markets from San Diego to Long Island. Because sometimes there really is no place like home.