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Obika Mozzarella Bar targets expansion throughout eastern U.S.

NEW YORK Obika Mozzarella Bar, after debuting its first domestic location here last fall, said it plans to open 20 more locations in the eastern United States over the next 10 years. The partners behind Obika have formed a company called “Innovative Hospitality Concepts” and are committed to the proposed development plan. —

The new growth would be an expansion upon their other international restaurants located in Rome, London, Tokyo, Kuwait City, and the Italian cities of Milan, Turin, Fidenza, and Florence. —

Silvio Ursini, founder of Obika—which means “here it is” in the Neapolitan dialect—developed the concept of a “mozzarella bar” by applying the ingredient-centered approach of a sushi bar to the Italian ingredient of buffalo mozzarella. —

Buffalo mozzarella, a mild, white, fresh cheese made from water buffalo milk, often is considered the most prized type of fresh mozzarella. To showcase the ingredient, even the restaurant’s presentation is reminiscent of a sushi concept, with a sleek bar displaying the mozzarella in lighted glass tanks. —

Three types of buffalo mozzarella are featured consistently on the menu. Mozzarella di bufala and its smoked counterpart are imported from Paestum, Italy, several times each week. Obika also offers Bufala di Vermont, a more affordable American-made option from domestically raised water buffalo in Woodstock, Vt. Other varieties, including burrata and stracciatella mozzarellas, usually are available once a week. One of the most popular menu choices is the $18 tasting plate, which contains three varieties of mozzarella. —

Obika’s menu also features a selection of panini sandwiches, salads, pastas, pastries, coffees and fresh-squeezed juices. Patrons can eat their food at bar-style seating, order take-away, or utilize their delivery or catering services. —

Commenting on the restaurant’s development plan, Anthony Fauci, Innovative Hospitality Concepts managing partner, said: “We successfully tested the model of this unique Italian franchise in the United States. We are ready to explore business opportunities to expand.” —

The current New York Obika, which is located in the atrium of the IBM building on Madison Avenue has an average lunch check of $18. —

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