When QSR last checked in with Coolhaus as part of “America’s Top 20 Food Trucks,” in February 2011, business partners Natasha Case and Freya Estreller had just launched their second food truck, adding a roving kitchen in Austin, Texas, to their existing mobile unit in Los Angeles.
Daniel P. Smith
Daniel P. Smith is a regular contributor to <i>QSR.</i>
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While toiling as a management consultant, John-Paul Lee hungered for a new profession that would bring energy and purpose to his life. Lee found his calling with Kosofresh, the New York City–based, build-your-own-rice-bowl concept he opened in September 2012.
Anthony Pigliacampo is like few of his predecessors in the quick-service game.
Pigliacampo is the founder of Modmarket, a Colorado-based concept that continues to earn rave reviews for its modern environment and high-quality food, and which had six stores open at the end of 2013. By the end of this year, Modmarket’s unit count will jump to 13 and then to at least 24 by the end of 2015.
What makes Pigliacampo different from his peers is that all of that growth will be through company-owned stores.
Considering how many food trucks have hit the streets across the U.S., Kim Baxter has plenty to brag about. Last summer, Baxter and her upstart Orlando-based food truck, Goodfood, bested food trucks from around the country and captured $5,000 as winner of the inaugural Progressive Insurance Flo’s Fabulous Food Truck Contest.
If this year’s Growth 40 report is any indication, plenty of quick-service brands will soon be following in the footsteps of basketball superstar LeBron James and taking their talents to South Beach.
Miami tops QSR’s fourth annual Growth 40 report, claiming the first spot among the nation’s largest markets, while Austin, Texas, and Palm Springs, California, earn top honors among medium and small markets, respectively.
Amid the glitz and glam of Hollywood’s boutiques and TV studios, Collier Ulrich’s upstart eatery, Marcona, is making a name for itself with turkey and ham. The New York native’s almost-two-year-old gourmet sandwich shop serves up classic East Coast deli fare enhanced by Mediterranean influences and a West Coast approach.
Stop a local in the Chicago area, inquire about the closest Portillo’s restaurant, and you’re almost certain to get directions to the Chicago-based chain’s nearest location (alongside some ordering suggestions). With its signature Vienna beef hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, Portillo’s is a Windy City icon, a beloved local favorite that many current and ex-Chicagoans speak about with reverence for its quality food, efficient service, and lively atmosphere.
When Arianne Bennett opened the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Washington, D.C., in 2004, she had some ambitious sustainability aims: green products, solar power, composting, community dumpsters. She had a vision of creating her own eco-friendly utopia in a world only then beginning to ride the sustainability wave, an adventure then entwined with environmental stewardship.
“We wanted to be as lean as possible … and we were careful about everything from the packaging we chose to the number of napkins we distributed,” Bennett says.
Handcrafted, grilled-to-order, European-style hot dogs highlight the ambitious menu at New York City’s Dogmatic. Fresh-baked bread carries sausages that are made from sustainable, farm-raised meat and are topped with homemade gourmet sauces such as Cheddar Jalapeño and Chimichurri. One food critic called Dogmatic’s $5.65 signature item “a far more sophisticated pig in a blanket, and much more delicious.”
When Patrick Fox opened Cava Greens in 2002, he fashioned it to be the anti–quick serve.
The food court–based eatery inside Denver’s 56-story Republic Plaza dishes up custom, hand-tossed salads alongside a range of fresh and natural offerings. The store resists processed foods in favor of dozens of seasonal foods, including figs, pomegranate seeds, and lean proteins, such as tofu and seared salmon.