From humble beginnings to massive expansions, these restaurants have captivated the restaurant industry and their communities. Take a look at these 19 restaurants that we are excited to see grow in Los Angeles!
1. Cowboy Chicken
Founder Phil Sanders was a textile salesman by trade with a love for Western movies and he became inspired to perfect the taste of food cooked over an open flame. Sitting in their backyard, together they pioneered cooking chicken on a rotisserie over a wood fire. It didn’t take long before their friends and family were lining up for a taste of Cowboy Phil’s chicken. Phil and Jeanette were encouraged to open their own restaurant, and in 1981, they opened the doors to Cowboy Chicken. Ever since 1981, Sanders has challenged the status quo by never comprising on the quality of their ingredients. Their chicken is all natural and has no added hormones or steroids. Their dishes are handcrafted daily from only the freshest ingredients. Cowboy Chicken currently has 26 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, and Nebraska with a new location opening for the very first time in California!
“Our fire’s been burning bright since 1981.”
2. Curry Up Now
Next, we have Curry Up Now which was founded in 2009 by husband and wife Akash and Rana Kapoor and partner Amir Hosseini which first opened as a food truck business. In addition to four Curry Up Now trucks, the brand has grown into brick and mortar locations in Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Curry Up Now is not your average Indian fare as they serve tikka masala burritos, deconstructed samosas, and fries. They take traditional flavors and present them in a friendly, recognizable way and are always up for ensuring that their customers have an incredible experience from the moment they walk through the doors or step in line at one of their food trucks. Co-owner, Kapoor mentioned in an interview with Eater San Francisco, that he’d like to see Curry Up Now grow to 400 or even 500 locations nationwide! They see a future of spreading their vision among their friends for national growth. For years people have talked about Indian food being the next big thing, and the founders of Curry Up Now are ready to make it happen.
“Not your average Indian fare.”
Started by three childhood friends Ike Grigoropoulos, Chef Dimitri Moshovitis, and Ted Xenohristos, CAVA celebrates the flavors of their families’ traditional Greek and Mediterranean cooking in a casual modern setting. Cava is a growing Mediterranean culinary brand with a flavorful and healthy fast-casual restaurant experience featuring customizable and craveable salads, grain bowls, dips and spreads, CAVA currently has several locations in California, Connecticut, Washington D.C, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia. They have since partnered with several nonprofit organizations to help the local communities for healthy eating and urban gardening skills. Through these partnerships, they have been cultivating relationships with their neighbors and creating opportunities for those who need them the most.
“Bold. Healthy. Fresh. A Summer State of Mind.”
4. Roam Artisan Burgers
Joshua Spiegelman founded Roam Artisan Burgers in 2010 with partner Lynn Gorfinkle as they both had a passion to sell pasture-raised, ethically sourced burgers. The duo first opened their first location at 1785 Union Street in San Francisco and have since expanded to five other locations throughout the Bay Area. From pasture to plate, Roam Artisan Burgers offer delicious burgers, sides, shakes, and sodas crafted from fresh quality ingredients that have been carefully selected. Roam Artisan Burgers currently has several locations in San Francisco, Lafayette, San Mateo, and Oakland and has more plans of opening across California.
“Sharing a meal with us means sharing our commitment to the land. We are passionate about improving the health of our planet, our communities and ourselves through better eating — and having fun while doing it.”
5. Coconut’s Fish Cafe
Coconut’s Fish Cafe first opened in 2009 in Maui, Hawaii by founder and CEO, Mike Phillips. Their small restaurant quickly became a favorite among the kama’aina (locals) and tourists alike, with their family-friendly atmosphere, custom surfboard tables, exceptional food, healthy food choices, and aloha culture. Their goal isn’t simply customer satisfaction, they want their guests to feel welcomed in their Coconut ohana (family). Coconut’s Fish Cafe opened in Scottsdale and has experienced the same success as their Maui location, and they attribute their success to their loyal patronage of Coconut’s ohana (family). Back in 2015, there were rumors about Coconut’s Fish Cafe securing a four-location deal for Los Angeles. This Hawaiian franchise began its expansion in 2017 with two locations in Northern California and has arrived to DTLA’s South Park region. They also have a location in Sacramento which is where Phillips is from and have opened three other locations in Arizona.
“No matter where we go, Coconut’s remains tru to its Hawaiian roots that embody three words: Aloha, Ohana, and Ono.”
Founders Leslie, David, and Drew were coming back from an epic power day on the mountain in Tahoe when the conversation changed from great turns to great food. The frustration over the lack of delicious, healthy, high-quality lunch options spurred a big idea, and from there, in 2014, Mixt was born. When it comes to great food, they don’t think you should have to choose between fast and healthy. Each signature salad is meticulously crafted-developed after months of testing flavor profiles and preparation methods. They spend weeks perfecting their signature salads, not just because they want them to taste great and highlight the season’s best flavors but because a salad is more than just a bunch of ingredients tossed together. You can currently find a Mixt in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
“Our goal at Mixt is to serve as many people as possible great food everyday.”
Everbowl was founded in 2016, has grown into 10 locations around San Diego and Riverside, and this summer they are getting ready to open six new locations in Encinitas, Menifee, Mission Valley, San Elijo Hills, SDSU, and Carmel Valley! At Everbowl, they believe the key to life is motion- and the key to motion is food. Well, Superfood to be more precise. Made by nature, they load their bowls with ingredients that actually good for you.
“Getting back to living and eating the way we were meant to – livng actively, and eating stuff that’s been around forever.”
8. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
Lois Margolet and her brother, Alan, started Capriotti’s in 1976 and lived in Little Italy in Wilmington, Delaware, where sandwich shops were abundant. Their first shop began as a boarded-up building beneath their apartment and they decided to name their shop after their grandfather, Philip Capriotti, who loved to cook. They wanted to create a sandwich for “real turkey lovers,” so they started roasting whole fresh turkeys overnight. This concept set them apart from their competition and still does. People loved their sandwiches, and word spread about their fresh roasted turkey, quality meats and cheese, fresh rolls and produce. Over time, their popularity grew and in 1987, their cousin, Diane Rizzo, joined them in opening additional locations in Delaware. The company has signed 50 franchises in the last year and plans to expand to 500 locations by 2025 through franchising.
“Extraordinary food for those unwilling to settle.”
Sharing the deliciousness with local communities was their goal when they first opened their first CREAM store. They wanted families who did not have time or could not afford to make these at home to be able to enjoy an ice cream sandwich. They loved them so much, and they knew others would too. So, in 2010, Jimmy and Gus Shamieh led the Shamieh family in opening the first location in Berkely, California. Working the store from open to close, the Shamieh family started serving happiness one ice cream sandwich at a time. CREAM has grown to several locations in California, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada and has further plans to continue expanding across California.
“Find your newest happy place!”
10. Luna Grill
Luna Grill first opened in 2004 when Sean and Maria Pourteymour’s passion for feel good, wholesome fare came to life. Luna specializes in offering kabobs, wraps, salads, and appetizers such as hummus and falafel, alongside a collection of beer and wine. Luna Grill currently has 44 locations spread across San Diego, Orange County, Ventura/ Santa Barbara, Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, and Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas.
“We’re more than just a restaurant. We are a family.”
Alan Jackson is the founder and vision behind Lemonade, enticing Californians with the simple allure of beautifully prepared salads, hearty braised meats, satisfying sandwiches, decadent desserts, and of course, thirst-quenching lemonades. Alan decided on naming his restaurant “Lemonade” because of the bright and comforting feeling you get when you simply say the word. He was an accomplished chef when he decided to leave the upscale dining scene to launch the first Lemonade in West Hollywood in 2008 as he was craving to create a chef-driven, contemporary approach to fine food. In 2009, Ian Olsen came on board to join Alan as a partner which helped redefine the fast-casual dining experience for today’s food-savvy diners. Ever growing, Lemonade now has 28 locations throughout Los Angeles and surrounding cities.
“California focused & seasonally driven.”
12. The Hummus and Pita Co.
When you enter The Hummus & Pita Co., you’ll be greeted by the aroma of freshly baked Pita and Laffa bread as executive chef Jose Tapia’s menu draws its inspiration from across the Mediterranean and beyond, with inspirations from Greece, Israel, Morocco, and the Middle East. The Hummus & Pita Co. is a fast-casual restaurant concept serving 100% homemade, fresh, and health-focused cuisine in an inviting, contemporary environment. Combining authentic flavors from across the Mediterranean with family recipes that have been developed from generation to generation. The Hummus currently has locations spread across New York, Connecticut, Colorado, New Jersey, Michigan, and California.
“Global flavors, Brooklyn made.”
13. Cauldron Ice Cream
Cauldron’s founders, Desiree Le and Terence Lioe met in high school in Orange County and discovered the liquid nitrogen ice cream-making technology while visiting Singapore in 2014. They decided to leave their full-time jobs to open Cauldron in 2015. Cauldron offers many unique ice cream flavors like earl grey lavender, s’mores, milk & cereal, sea salted caramel crunch and Vietnamese coffee. Cauldrons have also become famous with their Puffle Cone which was inspired by a popular street snack in Hong Kong. Cauldron currently has four locations in Artesia, Santa Ana, Glendale, and Convoy and recently opened their new location in San Diego, which is the first of six franchised shops. In addition, Cauldron has signed a deal with franchisees to open 24 more stores in the San Diego region.
“Fulfillment, happiness, and Cauldron Ice Cream.”
14. Robeks Juice
Robeks was first founded in 1995 by David Robertson who was a former investment banker as he was seeking healthier fast food options and took matters into his own hands by opening the first Robeks in Los Angeles in 1996. The stores specialize in serving juices, smoothies, shakes, supplements, sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Whatever you choose is guaranteed to be as nutritious as it is tasty and delicious. A small choice at Robeks makes a big difference. Robeks has 91 locations ever since their beginning in 1995 and still has plans to grow.
“Healthy Never Tasted This Good!”
15. Sweetfin Poke
Sweetfin Poke reimagines Hawaii’s traditional “soul food” with its delicious, healthful poke bowls. The fresh fast-casual restaurant that serves up both customizable and signature bowls from a menu created by Chef Dakota Weiss. After visiting the islands, founders Alan Nathan, Seth Cohen, and Brett Nestadt were inspired to bring the authentic Hawaiian dish to Los Angeles but with an added Californian twist. At Sweetfin, their philosophy is from “Pole to Bowl.” That means that in sourcing their fish, they aim to use the highest-quality and most sustainable raw fish that they can find while still maintaining a reasonable price point. As the founders are Californians, they love the inventiveness of Californian cuisine and wanted to meet in the middle of the Santa Monica Pier and the boats of Hawaii’s fishing areas. Sweetfin currently has 9 locations in Santa Monica, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
“Chef-driven, California inspired poke.”
16. Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
The founder of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop worked in several restaurant groups as he noticed disconnects between the food he served, the dishes being created, and the customers living a sustainable lifestyle. It wasn’t an easy start for the health-focused fast casual when it first opened its doors eight years ago. The Great Recession had led many consumers to keep a closer eye on what’s in their wallets, but the brand quickly adapted to remain a relevant option by offering delivery and catering services. Greenleaf currently has 8 locations in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, and Venice, CA.
“Where healthy does not equal boring.”
17. Yalla Mediterranean
Yalla dishes up fresh, vibrant fare inspired by the flavors and cultures that they love. They prepare their food from scratch each morning with local produce that is brought in each morning. They fling open their doors and fire up their grill, sizzling to order responsibly raised meats and wild-caught fish in less than three minutes. They also offer craft brews, wine on tap and compostable everything, and you’ll discover the spirit of Yalla. Yalla currently has 7 locations in Northern and Southern California.
“We dish up fresh, vibrant fare inspired by the flavors and cultures we love.”
18. Artichoke Basille Pizza
Artichoke Pizza first opened their doors in New York City’s East Village in 2008, by cousins and best friends Francis Garcia and Sal Basille. Artichokes has expanded to twelve hugely successful locations across the country and have always impressed critics, fellow chefs, and chowhounds alike. Since launching Artichoke, they have been featured on multiple shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Rachel Ray Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers, just to name a few. Fran and Sal have Artichoke currently has 12 locations in New York and Florida, now we can visit their restaurant as soon as they are opening a new location in California!
“Their never-ending line of devoted Artichoke Pizza fans draws from legions of native New Yorkers.”
19. Halal Guys
From humble beginnings as a New York City hot dog cart to a world-renowned international restaurant chain. The Halal Guys story is the quintessential American Dream. The Halal Guys have been defining a new, thriving segment for the restaurant industry: American Halal Food! The restaurant began in 1990 when the three founding partners opened up a hot dog cart on West 53rd & 6th Avenue in New York City. As the business grew, they recognized a huge demand and 25 years, five carts, two New York City Restaurants, and millions of diverse customers served. The Halal Guys has hundreds of locations spread across the United States and Asia.