Eatzi's expands into two new locations

Staff Writer
Eatzi’s Market & Bakery will open in Grapevine and Plano, Tex.

Eatzi’s Market & Bakery will be opening a third store in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas, in May and on Tuesday signed a lease for a fourth unit in Plano, Texas.

The culinary retail concept, which debuted to much fanfare in 1996 for its innovations in take-home meals, will debut the new Grapevine store on May 17. The market-bakery will occupy 10,000 square feet of freestanding retail and foodservice space in a former Luby’s Cafeteria site, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Eatzi’s chief executive, Adam Romo, said in a phone interview Tuesday that the Plano store will be newly constructed in a 10,000-square-foot space in an upscale mixed-use center that's currently under development at Parker Road and the Dallas North Tollway.

“We’ll be the retail anchor for the high-end apartments/condos and office space,” Romo said. “We’ll be the first business there.” He added that the center will also include some higher-end casual-dining restaurants.

The Grapevine opening will offer limited seating, similar to the two existing locations, and put emphasis on its “Meals for the Taking” motto. Romo, who was a member of the management team that opened the original Eatzi’s in 1996 and was hired as CEO last year, said the new Grapevine and Plano stores will offer selections similar to the two existing locations.

The market-bakery will offer more than 1,500 items and feature a full bakery for 200 varieties of artisan breads and pastries. The Grapevine unit will also carry 130 deli meats and cheeses, prepared salads and sandwiches and complete meals to go.

“We’ve evolved the menu over the years for current trends and tastes,” Romo said.

Eatzi’s is currently owned by its original creator, Dallas-based restaurant impresario Phil Romano, who also pioneered the Fuddrucker’s and Macaroni Grill concepts. In order to "keep the integrity of his creation," according to the company, Romano bought back Eatzi’s after it expanded nationwide, with an investment by Brinker International. He eventually shut down seven operations in Atlanta, New York and Houston, only to leave the original Dallas location standing.

The company began to expand again in 2009 with the opening of a second unit in Dallas, and is continuing its growth with its new Grapevine and Plano locations.

“It’s the exact same excitement and anticipation and feeling of growing the business as back then," said Romo, who served as chief financial officer for the original Eatzi’s push. "It’s almost like experiencing the resurgence of a whole new concept.”

Romo added that real estate developers from around the country are “inundating” him with proposed locations. “It’s much like it was back in the ‘90s,” he said. “A lot of people are familiar with the brand. When they hear we’re growing, they are asking us to consider their locations.”

However, Romo said the company plans to keep Eatzi’s in Texas for the time being.

“We really understand the industry now…and how we fit into peoples' lifestyles for convenience,” Romo said. “I won’t make the same mistakes that we made with trial and error. We’re confident in our strategy.”

EARLIERPrevious: Eatzi's poised for growth again

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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