The creators of the Hopdoddy Burger Bar fast-casual chain and the Eddie V’s and Wildfish polished-casual concepts have disclosed plans to open an Italian venture later this year in Austin, Texas.
Larry Foles, Guy Villavaso and John Carver, who sold their full-service ventures to Darden Restaurants for $59 million in 2011, said their new concept will be called Red Ash. According to local press reports, the 4,300-square-foot restaurant will feature pasta, porchetta and a wood-fired oven presumably useable for pizza. It will also sport a full bar.
Darden bought Eddie V’s and Wildfish as higher-ticket entrants in the casual seafood market, which it dominated at the time through its Red Lobster chain. Under pressure from shareholders, Darden sold Red Lobster and concentrated on its Italian business, the Olive Garden chain.
The trio then focused on Hopdoddy, a concept that features a full bar as well as an extensive menu of burger options sold in a limited-service format.