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Before fine-dining chefs were opening casual restaurants and falafel was having a moment, there was Taïm. The proprietor, Israeli chef Einat Admony, opened the first location with her husband, Stéfan Nafziger, in New York City, in 2005.
Taïm tapped into several trends: A fast-casual environment; a simple, affordable menu of healthful Mediterranean food; and smart branding that included the Hebrew translation of “taïm,” meaning “healthy” or “delicious.”
Salads, platters and pita sandwiches anchor the menu, with prices ranging from $8 to $12.
It seemed that Taïm was destined to expand. But “we never were too rushed,” Admony said. “It almost took us eight years to open the second one.”
Although she got offers to grow over the years, she was busy opening the restaurants Bar Bolonat and Balaboosta. And she was looking for a partner who could offer more than just financial backing.
Phil Petrilli, a Chipotle Mexican Grill veteran, could help.
He was “very, very hungry, eager. And I liked that,” Admony said. “I knew they were going to make it happen.”
Petrilli organized a group of fast-casual veterans to support and finance Taïm’s growth. The financial backers aren’t part of an official firm, Petrilli said, but have invested in other restaurants before.
The group plans to open three locations in New York this year, and then national and potentially global expansion.
But don’t rush them: They’ll do it at their own pace.
Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]
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