Nation’s Restaurant News announced the 2023 winners for its annual Hot Concepts award, given to up-and-coming restaurant brands with exciting growth potential.
The Hot Concepts awards recognize young, emerging regional chains that demonstrate potential to scale into national success stories. Chosen by NRN’s editors, winners are determined based on their growth momentum, uniqueness of concept, entrepreneurial spirit, and other characteristics.
The 2023 winners are:
- Milk & Honey, a New Orleans-inspired brunch concept based in Washington, D.C.
- Cornbread, a “Farm to Soul” fast casual based in New Jersey
- Pizzana, an upscale pizza concept based in Los Angeles
- Colada Shop, a Cuban café and bar based in Washington, D.C.
- Rare Society, an upscale steakhouse concept based in San Diego
“This year’s Hot Concept winners represent a remarkable diversity of cuisines and experiences, from upscale pizza to fast-casual soul food to a nostalgic steakhouse,” said Sam Oches, editor in chief of NRN. “We considered hundreds of brands in making this decision, and our team felt strongly that these five concepts have something special that can propel them to much bigger things in the years to come.”
Past Hot Concepts winners have included major chains such as Panda Express, Raising Cane’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Jamba, and CAVA.
The 2023 Hot Concepts are sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. The winners will be recognized during a panel at CREATE: The Experience, NRN’s event hosted in Palm Springs, Calif., this Oct. 1-3.
Joining NRN at CREATE to discuss their concepts are Adenah Bayoh, founder and owner of Cornbread; Charles Nelson, cofounder of Pizzana; Zandrique Harrold, director of operations for Milk & Honey; Daniella Senior, founder and CEO of Colada Shop; and Brad Wise, founder and executive chef of Rare Society.
“On behalf of The Coca-Cola Company, I’m honored to congratulate the 2023 Nation’s Restaurant News Hot Concept winners,” said Barbara Poremba, Vice President of Industry Leadership for The Coca-Cola Company, who sponsors the Hot Concepts awards program. “These brands and their leaders represent the future of foodservice. Not only are they innovative and forward thinking, but they also inspire future restaurateurs to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship. They are truly the spirit of this great industry, and we are honored to celebrate them at CREATE in Palm Springs this year.”
Stay tuned for more information on this year’s Hot Concepts winners in NRN’s September issue and at nrn.com.