Muscle Maker Grill, a fast-casual restaurant franchise that serves freshly prepared meals with health in mind, announced plans to bring its unique concept to Houston, Texas, through a three-unit franchise agreement with Texas resident Paul Ankar.

The first location is slated to open in fall 2013 in Houston’s Galleria area, the city's premiere shopping district. 

“We are thrilled to bring Muscle Maker Grill to the active, flourishing community of Houston,” said Rod Silva, founder and chairman of Muscle Maker Grill. “This multiunit deal is a testament to the strength of our growing brand and reinforces our 2013 growth predictions.”

Ankar was motivated to open a Muscle Maker Grill when he recognized a void in the Houston area for healthy, convenient food options.

“There’s a rapidly increasing population of Houston residents that are interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and proper nutrition, but there are few better-for-you food options in the area,” Ankar says. “I believe that residents will be truly excited to try Muscle Maker Grill’s healthy, great-tasting choices.”

Muscle Maker Grill has 65 units open nationwide and expects to open another 35–40 units each year over the next three years. In addition to Texas, Muscle Maker Grill has locations in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

Muscle Maker Grill was founded in 1995 by Silva with the goal of offering a nutritious alternative to fast-food restaurants. It prides itself on creating healthier versions of mainstream favorite dishes that taste great, making it easy and enjoyable to eat healthy.

The menu at Muscle Maker Grill features lean, protein-based dishes including fit salads, wraps, sandwiches, power pastas, and guiltless entrees, as well as fruit smoothies and protein shakes in an assortment of flavors. Each restaurant offers catering, take-out, and delivery services for the convenience of its customers.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Muscle Maker Grill