This summer D.C. will get its first taste of California’s burgeoning salad chain Urban Plates — and there’s many more on the horizon.
San Diego-born Urban Plates says its Tysons Galleria location (2001 International Drive, McLean, Va.) — its first on the East Coast — is now scheduled to open on Monday, July 9 . A second location will follow in Columbia, Maryland (10300 Little Patuxent Parkway) some time in August.
Leases are being finalized for another handful of restaurants across the area, fueling the cafeteria-style import’s plans to open two to three more next year, chief operating officer Joe O’Donnell tells Eater. He predicts the laid-back lunch and dinner destination could plant “at least a dozen” in the D.C. area down the line. The company is also targeting New York, New Jersey, and Boston for further expansion opportunities.
The flagship restaurant opened in an upscale shopping center in Del Mar, California in 2011. Twelve more have popped up across the Golden State since then.
“All arrows point to the D.C. market as being one of the great restaurant markets we could stick a flag in,” O’Donnell says. “D.C. has become such a great foodie town. There is high demand for what we offer.” Catering also recently entered the company’s equation, and he thinks the D.C. market is “probably one of the best for that in the U.S.”
O’Donnell says its existing menu will largely transfer over to the East Coast, with some “Northeast twists” sprinkled in. Tysons will feature new menu items such as corn chowder with crab, variations on corn on the cob, and barbecue pork ribs with mango salsa. Top sellers include its chicken Cobb salad with turkey bacon and organic eggs, and its Asian chicken salad. Urban Plates also prepares a range of pastries including cakes, tarts, and cookies. Drink options include kombucha, seasonal lemonades, wines, and local beers on tap.
Each 4,000-square-foot restaurant features an open kitchen and lived-in rustic vibe with lots of wood detailing. The Columbia location, wedged next to a new Shake Shack, will seat 190. The Tysons location is projected to accommodate 160 customers at a time.
Two years ago Urban Plates tapped the former maître d’ at New York’s Michelin-starred Per Se to help fine-tune its service across the board. The standard 13-week training period leading up to a regular opening has been extended to six months for its East Coast debut; management wants to make sure its new staff fully grasps what the West Coast brand is all about.