What is in this article?:
- Umami Burger founder to launch new restaurants
- Concept with 'the crack factor'
ChocoChicken, a fast-casual “fried-chicken-and-chocolate hybrid” is among the new concepts.
Adam Fleischman, the founder of the growing Umami Burger chain, is lining up new restaurant brands that he hopes will take flight, including a fast-casual fried chicken concept that uses chocolate as its “crack factor.”
As of Jan. 1, Fleischman stepped down from day-to-day operations as chief executive of Umami Restaurant Group, though he remains chair of that company, which operates 21-unit Umami Burger and is co-developing the fast-casual pizza brand 800 Degrees. The search for a new chief executive is underway, he said.
Eager to create new brands, Fleischman has launched AdVantage Restaurant Partners, a Los Angeles-based operating company that will also serve as a restaurant incubator.
AdVantage plans to debut 10 new brands this year, ranging from ChocoChicken, a fast-casual fried chicken brand that Fleischman predicts could eventually hit 1,000 to 2,000 units nationwide, to a one-off focusing on Spanish cuisine.
First in the lineup is the revamp of a 75-year-old Asian restaurant called Formosa Café. Later this month, the team from the Beverly Hills, Calif., restaurant Red Medicine, which Fleischman holds a stake in, will rework Formosa and its largely Vietnamese menu to transform it into Red Med at Formosa Café.
Next up is Roadside LA at The Improv, a full-service “modern barbecue” concept with a full bar, scheduled to open at the Hollywood Improv comedy club next month. The restaurant is being developed in partnership with pit-master Robbie Richter, who is known for the New York barbecue concepts Hill Country and Fatty ‘Cue, and co-founded This is Not a Pop-up, a culinary incubator that organizes events.
On the menu: wood-smoked meats with global flavors, such as paneer with smoked curried goat gravy; or pork ribs with fish sauce. Guests can special-order large-format dishes, such as “head of the day,” or whole shoulders of lamb, beef or pork. Fleischman envisions multiple locations in major cities.
Also in February, AdVantage is scheduled to debut Smoke.oil.salt in Los Angeles, featuring a menu developed with Spanish chef Perfecto Rocher. The restaurant will be a partnership with Stephen Gelber, a movie producer, and Jason Berkowitz, former vice president of operations for Umami Restaurant Group.