Wisconsin-based sub sandwich franchise Cousins Subs is celebrating its first out-of-state location under the brand’s new growth plan with the grand opening of its downtown Chicago restaurant at 120 W. Madison St. in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.

What sets Cousins apart from other sandwich concepts is the passion for the brand that resonates throughout our system,” says Christine Specht, president and CEO of Cousins Subs. “As a brand that was built in the Midwest by Midwesterners, kicking off our out-of-state development efforts with a location in the heart of the city of Chicago is a big win for us, proving that our strategic changes are paying off.”

Not only is the downtown Chicago Cousins Subs location the brand’s first in the state of Illinois, but it is also the first of 40 units that are set to open throughout the Chicagoland area as part of a large-scale development deal with OM Group, headed by multi-brand franchisees Amit and Kalpesh Patel. OM Group plans to open an additional five to six locations each year over the next several years.

“Being the first Cousins franchisees in Illinois is a point of great pride for us,” says Kevin Dinnen, Director of Operations for OM Group. “Establishing our roots in Chicago’s Loop is going to be a huge benefit from a foot traffic standpoint and will help establish Cousins in the in the Chicago market. A lot of different elements differentiate Cousins from its competitors in the segment and we’re confident the new concept will explode. This is just the beginning and we’re excited to see where we can take the brand beyond the Chicagoland area as well.”

Cousins downtown Chicago location boasts the greatest population density of any restaurant in the sub shop’s franchise system. The 2,600-square-foot restaurant offers guests two levels of seating to accommodate the lunch rush crowd, online and mobile app ordering, delivery and a designated catering manager to coordinate all catering needs. Guests will enjoy the company’s Milwaukee Sub Shop restaurant design, which reflects its Midwestern roots and celebrates the hardworking, industrial culture of Cousins’ heritage. The sub shop also features the brand’s next-generation digital signage with menu boards and advertising materials displayed on high-definition monitors.

By incorporating digital upgrades and new design elements, the sub shop delivers on its mission to provide a quality dining experience while positioning its brand as an emerging leader in the city’s booming restaurant scene.

“Chicagoans like good, hearty food and we deliver,” adds Joe Ferguson, VP of Development for Cousins Subs. “Our high-quality, made to order grilled and deli fresh subs served on bread baked daily and made with locally sourced ingredients from the Midwest set us apart from our competitors. Plus, Wisconsin Cheese Curds, shakes and floats made with Wisconsin dairy, and Sprecher Root Beer are products that can’t be beat. This prime real estate gives us the chance to offer a dining experience featuring food made by good people who truly care about serving others and we know guests will appreciate the effort and attention to detail.”

Cousins sees the Chicago grand opening as a launch point not only for the 40-unit development deal, but as the crucial first step in the sub franchise’s continued expansion plans for the Midwest.

“OM Group’s restaurants in the Chicagoland area are just the beginning,” Ferguson says. “The Midwest is flush with markets where Cousins is primed for success, and we’re excited to work with new franchise partners in markets we’ve identified as opportunities.”

Cousins Subs and its franchisees operate nearly 100 sub sandwich shops throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

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