With lobster rolls, chowder fries, and just-off-the-docks fish tacos in the desert, a seaside experience is coming to the Southwest. Slapfish, a Huntington Beach, California–based fast-casual seafood restaurant with an emphasis on serving fresh, sustainable dishes, has signed a multi-state franchise deal which will introduce the concept to Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Texas.

Andrew Gruel, Slapfish founder and celebrity chef, grew the concept from a food truck to a restaurant chain that includes six units in California (both corporately-owned and franchised), with nearly 50 more in development. With the intent to “make seafood sexy again,” Slapfish has created a distinct brand that revolves around "boat-to-plate" cuisine in a casual, relaxed setting.

“Our model for making seafood sexy again through over-the-top chef-driven dishes is ready to scale through this territory,” Gruel says. “With advanced technology and rigorous oversight in the seafood market, it is now possible to take high-quality, sustainable seafood inland.”

Slapfish is expanding through a partnership with Fransmart, the franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys and Qdoba. The new franchisees are multi-unit operators with 40 other restaurant locations.

“We are ecstatic about this deal because it speeds up the process through which we will get Americans to eat more healthy seafood by introducing Slapfish to six more states,” Gruel says. “Slapfish is poised to take over the fast-casual seafood sector by partnering with like-minded, socially responsible franchisees like our current partners.”

Fast Casual, News, Slapfish