Year after year, consumers, and foodies alike obsess over a new trend that drives where they are going to eat. For bars and restaurants, these trends can be determined by the demographics of recurring visitors, national trends, or advances in technology. Almost halfway into 2018, Foodable has determined the top 2018 trends for bars and restaurants.Read More
On this episode of Fast Casual Nation, we talk to the founders of a concept that has quickly established itself as a loved brand in Miami.
Consumers today are demanding much more from restaurants. They expect clean, locally sourced ingredients, quick service, and affordable prices. While many restaurants try to offer all of these things, few can successfully execute without sacrificing their margins.
With a menu focused on clean eating, American Harvest serves up minimally processed foods. They use words like ‘GMO-free’, ‘grass-fed’, and ‘organic,’ to support their commitment to sustainable practices and sourcing local.
With decades of experience combined between the top three minds of the leadership team, the Grove Bay Group has perfected every aspect of American Harvest Co. and now they market it as their growth brand.
Watch the episode above for more expert insights into fast casual!
On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, host Paul Barron talks to Tom Holt of Urbane Cafe about why he decided to take on a full made-from-scratch menu in Ventura, California 12 years ago.
In 2003, Holt was a professional motocross racer and couldn’t find a healthy fast casual in Ventura. He took that as inspiration to create his own. And thus, Urbane Cafe was born. Everything at Urbane is made from scratch from the bread and the sauces to the dressings. The ingredients they use are as fresh and local as possible.
Barron asks Holt about his thoughts on how the fast casual sector is starting to get crowded. Of course, some concepts are going to succeed and other are going to fail, but being a “winner” isn’t the end goal for Holt. For him, there is a greater purpose to his menu.
“I don’t want to see any losers. I want to make sure that we’re able to really feed the general population with good healthy food,” he says.
Find out more about Urbane Cafe and their mission by watching the episode!
Consumers today expect much more from restaurants. They demand clean ingredients that are locally sourced. They demand quick service at affordable prices. Many restaurants have tried to offer all of these things but not without sacrificing their margins. However, American Harvest Co. seems to have found the right balance in order to scale their healthy concept. American Harvest Co. is a concept started by Grove Bay Hospitality Group in Brickell with a focus on “Delicious. Clean. Eating.”
With a menu focused around clean eating, American Harvest serves up “minimally processed foods.” GMO-free, grass-fed, and organic are all words used to describe the dishes served up at the Brickell City Center restaurant. The concept also prides itself on its commitment to sustainable practices and sourcing local. Take for example their craft sodas and beer selection.
“We also developed our own soda recipes with a local vendor and they’re all organic cane sugar sodas. We also brought in some wine and some beer, locally-- some craft Florida beers,” says Co-Founder and CEO Francesco Balli.
The restaurant has a farmhouse kitchen feel, using pictures of old Florida and old Brickell to relay the fact that they are a Miami brand. Grove Bay owns a number of restaurants like the Big Easy WIne Bar right next door, but identify American Harvest as their “growth brand. The team plans to open their second location in South Miami where they will give it its own local flavor.
“Miami over all is having a little bit of a culinary renaissance in and of itself and Brickell is definitely a reflection of that,” says Balli.
With a menu including grass-fed burgers, cage-free rotisserie chicken, and and sustainable tuna, American Harvest Co. is a place you can feel good about eating at.
Video Produced by Denise Toledo
The idea for Cava Grill stemmed from the full-service restaurant Cava Mezze, which was founded by three childhood friends aiming to provide high-quality Greek and Mediterranean cuisine to the modern consumer. Cava Grill, the fast-casual spinoff of Cava Mezze, has since exploded. Growing to over 25 units, Cava Grill is primed to be a breakout brand in fast casual. Chef Dimitri Moshovitis shared with us some of the tricks to Cava’s success.
“I think that we kinda hit on every demographic. We can be in the city, we can be in the suburb. We can be in a mall or airport. We have that ‘make you feel good’ kinda food. We like to go out there and find people that we can partner up with; local farmers, local producers. And I think people see that. That does break that $8 barrier when you are part of the community,” he said.
Lamb is a central ingredient to Greek and Mediterranean flavors, and as such, Chef Dimitri wants to be sure he does it right. Keeping in line with his community focus, Dimitri knew sourcing lamb for the restaurant locally was a must. That’s why he reached out to American shepherd Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm to supply the lamb for Cava Grill’s spicy lamb meatballs.
As Rogers says, a big part of the flavor for the meatballs comes from how the lamb is grown. Rogers creates a sweet fat on his lamb by starting at the bottom of the food chain.
“We have to spend a little more effort on nurturing our grasses and pastures to create high sugar grasses, that’s then going to create really sweet meat flavors and fat flavors,” Rogers explained.
This care translates into perfectly charred meatballs on your choice of a pita, grains, or greens. Watch how much care goes into delivering tasty, local lamb to your plate on this episode of Fast Casual Nation.