Cheese lovers across the US have reason to celebrate, as a chain that’s all about grilled cheese prepares to go national.
The parent company of fast-casual chain Melt Shop, Aurify, is planning on doubling its locations after receiving $US22.5 million in Series B funding, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.
Melt Shop is the largest original concept founded by Aurify, with eight locations currently open. The first restaurant opened in New York in 2011, when Five Guys franchisees John Rigos and Andy Stern decided it was time to try out some concepts of their own.
The chain’s website describes Melt Shop as “comfort food you love, but like you’ve never had it before. Next level stuff, made from only the best artisanal ingredients, fresh-baked bread every day and the best cheese a man can find.”
While grilled cheese seems like the simplest food around, hardly worth a restaurant visit, Melt Shop does indeed sell “next level stuff.” Sandwiches contain ingredients such as fried chicken, truffle oil, and portobello mushroom mixed. Cheese selections range from the simple American and cheddar mix to a combination of gruyere, havarti and goat cheese.
Of course, such decadence comes at a cost. While “The Classic” grilled cheese is only about $US5, options such as “Buffalo” and “Shroom” are almost $US9.
The chain’s locations mirror a common fast-casual aesthetic, from a pickup counter for speedy service to impeccably designed iconography and menu boards.
While most of the chain’s eight locations are in the New York City area, Melt Shop recently opened a restaurant in Washington, DC, with plans to open a second location soon. In the midwest, the company is opening a Melt Shop in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, and has plans to open a Chicago location.
Next year, Nation’s Restaurant Review reports that five or six new Melt Shop locations are in the works.
Aurify is also planning on expanding its Five Guys locations and building out its two other New York City-based original concepts, The Little Beet and Fields Good Chicken.
Fields Good Chicken serves chicken prepared in a wide variety of styles. Aurify is planning on opening four or five new Fields Good Chicken next year, adding to the three that should be open by the end of 2015.
The Little Beet is the broadest of all of Aurify’s concepts, serving up a variety of fast-casual dishes focused on local, seasonal, and natural ingredients. Currently, the chain has five locations, plus one full-service location called The Little Beet Table. Next year, the company plans to open five or six more, plus two more full-service restaurants.
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