Brad Blum details second NYC concept

NEW YORK Brad Blum, a former head of Olive Garden and Burger King, said Wednesday that he is planning to open a casual, Mediterranean-style concept in Brooklyn, N.Y., early next year.

Called Green Canteen, the 3,000-square-foot, 74-seat restaurant would be the second concept from Blum Enterprises LLC. According to Blum, the restaurant will focus on seasonal ingredients and offer 60 menu items, including ready-to-serve antipasti, salads, flat breads and hummus bowls served with a variety of meats and organic vegetables. The restaurant also will offer healthful shakes that are “high in energy but not in sugar,” he said.

Items will be low in refined carbohydrates and will either be grilled, roasted or baked, with no frying, Blum said. He also said all menu items would be priced under $10 and per-person checks would average less than $20.

“This food is what we classify as clean and wholesome,” Blum said. “There will be no antibiotics, nitrates or preservatives in it. Another core aspect is that it will be featuring seasonal items, which if done well, tastes better and is less expensive.” He added that portion sizes would be “ample but not huge.”

The place is scheduled to open in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Earlier this month, the former chain executive opened a fast-casual concept called Dogmatic, which specializes in gourmet grilled sausage sandwiches served with high-end toppings and sauces. It evolved from a cart into a 1,200-square-foot, 20-seat restaurant near Union Square Park in Manhattan. Each sausage sandwich contains no more than 500 calories, Blum said.

Blum said he used his own capital to finance the restaurants, and indicated that he has been working on both concepts since 2006. He said he plans to expand both, albeit slowly.

“We want to be humble in that we walk before we run,” he said of Green Canteen. “We think [these concepts have] a lot of potential and could and should be expandable.

“Right now we’re focusing on New York; for Dogmatic we’re already starting to look for a second location outside of New York, but we don’t want to go to too many isolated areas,” he said.

Blum also said he would eventually entertain the idea of franchising the concept.

“They will remain company owned in the early stages,” he said. “We want to get it right before we start bringing in outside financing.”