Three international concepts with relatively strong footholds in their home markets are looking to make a splash in the United States. They range from a casual-dining concept fronted by one of India’s best-known chefs, to a boutique dessert cafe that elevates the humble brownie to menu showcase, to a Canadian pub concept aiming to bridge the gap between elevated dining and a fun social atmosphere.
Click through to see what these chains plan for the U.S. and what makes them stand out.
1. The Yellow Chilli
This casual-dining concept fronted by Sanjeev Kapoor, one of India’s best-known celebrity chefs, is opening its first U.S. branch in Santa Clara, Calif. The new-to-market restaurant is slated to open next summer at Monticello Apartment Homes, a planned community developed by Irvine Co., local operator Yogesh Gupta told The Mercury News.
Yellow Chilli positions its menu as a “gastronomic tour of India,” with several of Kapoor’s signature dishes as well as classic Indian comfort foods prepared with a contemporary twist. Menu highlights include Lalla Mussa Dal, consisting of black and green lentils cooked overnight with spices, cream, ghee and butter; and Puran Singh da Tariwala Murgh, a dish of chicken curry in gravy that’s inspired by roadside restaurants along the Ambala-Delhi Highway.
Central to the concept’s positioning is its backing by Kapoor, who provides the brand with a measure of culinary authority and name recognition. Other components of the concept include moderate prices and an ambience intended to be polished but casual and family-friendly, which could help distinguish the brand from independent Indian restaurants in the U.S. market.
Mumbai-based multiconcept operator and franchisor SK Restaurants oversees the chain along with six other concepts. There are currently about 30 Yellow Chilli locations in India, along with five branches in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
A brownie-centric concept as its name suggests, this more-than-just-desserts cafe from Brazil is slated to open its first U.S. location by the end of this year in the Orlando, Fla., area. The cafe is one of several restaurants opening at the new Lakeside Crossing shopping center in Winter Park, reports the Orlando Business Journal.
Operating locally as Brownieria Cafe, the concept is positioned as a cafe specializing in gourmet desserts along with pastries, sandwiches and coffee drinks. It considers artisan preparation and the use of premium ingredients as differentiators from competitors. Signature brownies are available in several preparations, including versions with ice cream toppings and caramel fillings. There are also several cakes and pies with ingredients like brownie pieces, cookies, ice cream and chocolate mousse. Gluten-free options will be available.
As part of its entrance into the U.S., Brownieria will target a consumer base of both locals and travelers—not just Brazilians—looking for a premium dessert cafe, particularly for after-dinner occasions. The 1,200-square-foot, 10-seat unit in Winter Park is the first of up to four that the chain intends to open in Central Florida through the end of next year, with a longer-term goal of franchised expansion in the U.S. The chain is currently working with commercial real estate firm Garito & Co. to open its initial units. Target venues include new or existing developments that are considered higher-end and with a mix of retail.
Rio de Janeiro-based Brownieria currently has about two dozen locations in Brazil, located largely in shopping mall sites.
3. Fox & Fiddle
This British-style pub concept from Canada is set to expand south of the border for the first time when it opens its inaugural U.S. restaurant in California this January. The chain’s first stateside restaurant is slated to open at The River shopping, dining and entertainment venue in Rancho Mirage, reports The Desert Sun.
Fox & Fiddle is positioned as part premium casual dining with an elevated menu and part neighborhood gathering space in the tradition of an English public house. The menu brings together dishes with American, Canadian and English heritage, including Buffalo chicken bites, poutine and bangers and mash. Central to the menu positioning is the use of locally sourced products when available as well as scratchmade, in-house preparation. Food and beverages will be available in a bar area as well as in a dining area.
Following the Rancho Mirage location, the chain is looking to develop units in Palm Springs and La Quinta in the near term and eventually build up to 75 locations throughout California over the next 15 years. Kurt Gardner, head of Fox & Fiddle California, says the concept will fill a niche in the market that bridges the gap between a polished full-service concept and the fun atmosphere of a pub. Gardner and his partner, Danny Chen, have previous experience operating casual-dining restaurants and bringing concepts into the U.S. Prior to developing the Fox & Fiddle in the U.S., Gardner was a multiunit operator of the Boston Pizza chain in Canada, while Chen, as an immigration attorney, helped global restaurant brands enter the U.S., including 85C Bakery Cafe and Meet Fresh, both from Taiwan.
Toronto-based Fox & Fiddle currently has 16 locations in Canada located primarily in Toronto, other parts of Ontario and British Columbia. The chain is part of the Pegasus Group of Cos.