Fast Casual Tracker
The fast-casual segment of dining is by-far-and-away the fastest expanding and most-talked-about restaurant segment today. The Foobooz Fast Casual Tracker is our homepage for Philadelphia’s casual dining restaurants. It’s where you’ll find the latest news and buzz in this increasingly crowded landscape. Check out who’s got that all-important momentum.
In September we were telling everyone about Honeygrow’s tenth location. Now they’re up to 13 open stores, including the just open Honeygrow in King of Prussia. Temple University’s location is number ten for the fast-casual noodle concept that started in 2012.
Next up, Baltimore, D.C. proper and New York City with a storefront in downtown Brooklyn.
Open 13 | Announced 4
With plans to open in every major city in the U.S., Hai Street surges to the top of our Fast Casual Tracker. The sushi burritos are still packing them in at Hai Street’s Center City, Liberty Place and University City locations. Owned by Genji, a Philly based subsidiary of Peace Dining Corporation, which provides sushi to Whole Foods, Hai Street is looking to explode. Hai Street just opened in NYC and its food truck is on the streets. Look for additional locations in New York City. Beyond that, the talk is D.C., Chicago and Boston.
Open 7 | Announced 3
New York has embraced Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff. And now Philadelphia has a second outpost of his hummusiya. This one at the giant new Whole Foods which has opened with several local concepts.
Marc Vetri has sold his restaurants to Urban Outfitters, all in the name of expanding the Pizzeria Vetri concept far-and-wide. The first out-of-state location in Austin, Texas opened last November. The restaurant is part of Urban Outfitters’ Space 24 project.
Washington D.C. opened over the summer. King of Prussia just recieved a variation on the theme, a Pizzeria Vetri Square Pie that opened next to Urban Outfitters.
Open 5 (Plus 1 Seasonal) | Announced 2
We totally expected the first New York Cook and Solo venture to be Federal Donuts. But as the guys have said, FedNuts won’t be far behind. And in a move that caught us off guard, the fried chicken concept is heading south to Miami and to the capital of hot chicken, Nashville.
Open 4 (Plus 2 Seasonal) | Announced 3
Oh snap! Marc Vetri isn’t the only guy with dreams of fast-casual pizza dollars. Peace A Pizza owners Pete Howey and Aaron Nocks have joined forces with Rob Wasserman of Rouge to turbo-charge the brand. They’ve got three locations open already and have announced locations in Delaware and Rosemont. The concept is the familiar Chipotle assembly line model with pizzas starting at $5.99. If all goes according to plans there will be 10 before the end of 2017.
Open 3 | Announced (plans for 10 by the end of 2017)
Brand new to the list, we previously wouldn’t have considered Cheu Noodle Bar a fast-casual concept. But then they surprised us all with the announcement they were slinging noodles at the new Whole Foods and what do you know, that qualifies as a fast-casual concept to us.
Open 2 | Announced 1
Wiz Kid ⬆︎
We were excited when we heard veggie whisperer Rich Landau was opening a vegan fast-casual eatery next to his V Street. We were really pumped when we found out he was opening in the new Whole Foods. We’ll be intrigued to see where he goes from here.
Open 1 | Announced 1
Nicole Marquis goes to Washington D.C. for her first out of market vegan fast-serve location. That brings the number in her budding empire to three. She’s got one more planned for Broad Street and as HipCityVeg’s announcement of the D.C. location boasted, next up, the world.
Open 3 | Announced 1
Buena Onda ⬇︎
It was clear from day one that Jose Garces intended to open more than one Buena Onda location. And now the Iron Chef confirms he has a deal for his second location at 1735 Chestnut, Buena Onda gets added to the Fast Casual Tracker. In addition to the Center City, Garces tells us that he’ll open a third in Philadelphia.
Open 1 | Announced 2
With three locations open, owner Rocco Cima is looking to franchise his sub-500 calorie fast dining concept. The plan is to franchise first in the Philadelphia area and then spread nationally. If all goes well there could be 50 new Fuel restaurants in the next five years.