Penn Station East Coast Subs has been strategically signing development deals throughout the country with plans to grow out the business for the first time in major markets such as Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas.
Originally founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1985, Penn Station is an upscale, fast-casual restaurant chain. The company serves a variety of grilled subs, as well as hand-cut, made-to-order french fries, hand-squeezed lemonade made several times daily, and chocolate chunk cookies baked in the restaurant.
PS DFW LLC, owned by a group of partners led by David Sherzer and Dave Coussirat, recently signed a 15-unit development agreement throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and is on track to have at least three restaurants opened in the area this year, with rapid growth planned thereafter. The initial locations will be in Flower Mound, Southlake, and Plano, Texas.
“We are very excited to bring the irresistible taste of Penn Station to Dallas–Fort Worth,” Sherzer says. “We believe the fresh-baked and fresh-grilled sandwiches, fresh-cut fries, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and fresh-brewed iced tea will be a big hit here.
Coussirat has worked in the food and beverage industry in Dallas–Fort Worth for more than 20 years. He has served in a director of operations capacity for concepts such as Jamba Juice, Taco Bell, and, most recently, Freebirds World Burrito.
Alan English, a Penn Station fan since his childhood in Cincinnati, plans to have his first Chicago location open by fall of 2014, with nine additional locations opened within the next 5 years. He is targeting areas from The Loop, all the way to Evanston, Skokie, and Oak Park, Illinois.
“We looked at a few franchise opportunities in the past, and came close on one, but I just didn't have that same passion as I do for the product at Penn Station,” English says. “I truly believe our product is second to none because everything is fresh and made to order."
Joining English in Penn Station’s latest Chicago venture are his brother, Ryan, a senior portfolio manager at a large regional bank, who is both a CFA and CPA; and father, John, who is retired from Ferguson Enterprises, the largest plumbing and heating distributor in the U.S.
Joe Quatro, 35, is also no stranger to Penn Station’s famous sandwiches. A devoted fan since being introduced to the brand in 1997, Quatro plans to have the first Atlanta unit open and operating by mid-July 2014, with 4 additional locations opening within the next 3 years. He is targeting areas from the perimeter Dunwoody area, Morningside, Brookhaven, Decatur, and Sandy Springs, Georgia.
“While a student at the University of Kentucky during my college years, I loved the food and was an avid customer. Once, while my father was visiting me on campus, we joked about opening a franchise location of my own one day and now that is actually becoming a reality,” Quatro says.
Joining Quatro in Penn Station’s new Atlanta venture is business partner Neil Viljoen, 38, who has been a multiunit restaurant manager for major franchise concepts for 20 years.
“Penn Station has such a unique product line with its freshly grilled East Coast style sandwiches,” Viljoen says. “I believe that introducing the brand to the people of Atlanta will be the perfect new endeavor.”
Penn Station has about 276 restaurants in 13 states, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.