Judy Kneiszel

Ones To Watch: Burger 21

Despite the research and years of experience that went into creating Burger 21, the concept’s president has been surprised by one aspect of the business: the brand’s broad consumer appeal.

“The amazing thing we didn’t predict was so many parties coming in with three generations,” says Mark Johnston, chief concept officer of Front Burner Brands and president of Burger 21. “Kids, parents, and grandparents all find something they love.”

Ones to Watch: Piada Italian Street Food

There are three entrées on the menu at Piada Italian Street Food: pasta bowl, chopped salad, and piada. What customers can create with those three options, though, is practically endless.

The restaurant’s namesake item, the piada, starts with an Italian thin-crust dough made with flour and olive oil. That crust is baked on a stone grill, then filled with ingredients and hand rolled. It’s similar to a wrap or a burrito, but an Italian version. The Piada concept is also similar in service and style to Chipotle, but, again, an Italian version.

Ones to Watch: Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

Most U.S. mainland residents have never been to a Teddy’s Bigger Burgers; those who have probably visited while on vacation. But that may soon change, as the Hawaii-based burger joint now has two mainland units and is poised for additional growth.

After the first Teddy’s opened in Honolulu in 1998, the brand grew slowly, adding two more stores in Hawaii by the end of 2003. Teddy’s started franchising in 2005 and now has five franchised stores—two in Hawaii and one each in Washington State, Iowa, and Japan.

Ones To Watch: Yummy Cupcakes

When Tiffini Soforenko first told her husband, Nik, that she wanted to open a cupcake bakery, his response was, “You don’t bake.”

But Soforenko, who worked as director of operations at Universal Studios Hollywood for more than 15 years, says she knew how to bake, she just didn’t have the time. That changed when she created Yummy Cupcakes in 2004.

Soforenko has been devoted to baking ever since and now has more than 400 proprietary cupcake recipes, including 94 vegan and 23 sugar-free cupcake varieties.

Ones To Watch: Chronic Tacos

Chronic Tacos CEO Michael Mohammed says it’s the recipes that make his California-based quick-serve concept stand out in the fast-casual Mexican food arena.

“The founders bought the recipes from a family friend, who was third-generation Mexican-American,” Mohammed says. “The flavor is more authentic. The recipes are a little more complicated, and you really notice the flavors.”

Ones To Watch: Flippin’ Pizza

In a world of novel-length menus and menuboards that fill entire walls, Flippin’ Pizza stands out for the simplicity of its offerings. Customers choose their sauce preference: white or red. There’s only one crust option, and whole pies come in an 18-inch size only. Pizza can be ordered by the slice, and the adventurous eater can get a calzone or a salad. But that’s the extent of it. And that’s the way founder Patrick Farley likes it.

Ones to Watch: b.good

Friends since sixth grade, Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto talked about starting a business together for years. They could only agree on one idea, however, and that was “making fast food real.”

Ackil and Olinto trace their appreciation of “real food” to being fed after school by Ackil’s Uncle Faris, who dispensed both home-cooked meals and advice, often reminding the boys to “be good.”

Eventually, the two created a restaurant concept called b.good with the tagline “real.food.fast.”

Ones To Watch: Sub Zero Ice Cream

Sub Zero Ice Cream serves up theater, science, and frozen desserts, bowl by individual bowl. Each Sub Zero customer selects one of six bases, which include higher-fat premium, custard, or classic, as well as healthier options: low-fat, yogurt, or lactose-free rice and soymilk. Next, the customer selects flavors and mix-ins, then watches as they’re combined with the liquid base in a metal bowl and blasted with -321-degree liquid nitrogen. The concoction freezes instantly.

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