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Café Enterprises to launch two new dining concepts

The parent of the Fatz casual-dining chain will debut a bar-focused casual dining concept and a fast-casual brand this summer

Café Enterprises Inc., the parent of the 49-unit Fatz casual-dining chain, plans to launch two new expansion vehicles this summer.

The two concepts—a new casual-dining concept with a bar focus called Tavern 24 and an as-yet unnamed fast-casual brand—will debut in upstate South Carolina, the company said.

Earlier, Café Enterprises’ chief executive Jim Balis said the Taylors, S.C.-based company planned to open two new Tavern 24 locations and two fast-casual concepts by the end of the year. The company said Tavern 24 will feature “a laid-back sports bar environment without the loud audio.”

The menu will feature such selections as baked chicken wings, handmade pizza, salads, and Certified Angus Beef steaks and burgers, including a Beef Greek burger topped with goat cheese, mint and tzatziki sauce. Other dishes include a Cajun chicken sandwich, Asian chicken salad with vine-ripened grape tomatoes and seasoned edamame, St. Louis-style ribs, Calabash chicken—a Fatz specialty—and fresh, hand-cut salmon.

Balis had said if the Tavern 24 concept is successful, it could replace Fatz as its casual-dining growth vehicle. “It will be more economical,” he noted.

Balis said while the company expects to convert some Fatz locations to Tavern 24, not every Fatz store will be altered. “We’ll just improve upon those,” Balis said.

Rendering of Cafe Enterprises fast-casual conceptThe fast-casual concept will offer a broad menu that features selections across all dayparts. The concept will offer a variety of fresh, locally sourced menu items including:

• Small bites, such as char-grilled seared shrimp with spicy Dijon dipping sauce

• Artisan salads, including spinach, onion and goat cheese salad, served with a warm vinaigrette

• Soups, such as carrot, rosemary and ginger soup

• Burgers, like fried egg, ham and cheeseburger made with Certified Angus Beef

• Sandwiches, including roasted turkey with cranberry aioli

• Center-of-the plate items, such as traditional shrimp and grits

• Side dishes, like Truffle Mac-N-Cheese

The fast-casual concept also will offer daily blackboard specials as well as grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.

Philadelphia-based private equity firm Milestone Partners has owned Café Enterprises since 2008. In addition to developing the two new growth concepts, Balis has been in the process of steering Fatz through a major revamp, including overhauling marketing, launching quarterly LTOs and upgrading menu ingredients.

All locations are company-owned and operated, but Café Enterprises expects to begin franchising in 2013, Balis said.

Café Enterprises is forecasting systemwide sales of about $110 million in 2012.

RELATEDFATZ says rebranding paying off

Contact Paul Frumkin at [email protected].

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