New York upscale restaurant goes fast casual

New York's Rouge Tomate Chelsea is jumping on the fast casual bandwagon, launching Rouge Tomate Cafe, a fast casual menu available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The original Upper East Side establishment opened in 2008, as a Michelin-starred restaurant serving balanced and nutrient-dense food, according to a company press release. In 2016, however, a new location allowed the concept to grow more intimate and casual, but the focus on health and sustainability remained. The location earned a Michelin-star months after opening, in November 2017, according to the release.

Taking that a step further, the brand has hired Chef Matt Aita to help create fast casual fare in addition to its fine-dining style dinner service. Aita got his start at Daniel and Jean-Georges before serving as executive chef at Le Philosophe in 2013. In 2014, he joined Chefs Club as executive chef, overseeing the nightly execution of dishes from some of the world's best chefs in the restaurant's New York City location.

Rouge Tomate Chelsea founder Emmanuel Verstraeten, Aita and General Manager Cristian Molina have created Rouge Tomate Cafe to offer burgers and salads, available for dine-in or takeaway, in a fast casual, counter-service format.
Breakfast menu items include:

  • Creamy oats with cultured cream, cinnamon sugar, pecans and seasonal jam ($5.50).
  • Breakfast Green Bowl with marinated kale, radish, beets, poached eggs and chiles ($10).
  • Vegetable & Egg Sandwich with soft cooked eggs, kale and roasted trumpet royal mushrooms ($6.50).
  • Charred Avocado Sandwich with pickled chiles, radish, sprouts and sunflower miso ($8).
  • Pastries, breads, fresh juices and coffee are also available.

For lunch and dinner, burgers and salads are the focus and take inspiration from Rouge Tomate's Cart in the Park, which was stationed outside of the Central Park Zoo for the summers of 2011-2014, according to the release.
Highlights include:

  • Market Grain Bowl with broccolini, chickpeas, shiitake mushrooms, sugar snap peas and chickpea miso dressing ($14).
  • Moroccan Chicken Burger with mint yogurt, arugula, peppers and onions and roasted tomato ($14).
  • Bison Burger with salsa verde, gem lettuce, avocado and charred red onion ($15).
  • Smoked almonds ($15).

For dinner, Rouge Tomate Chelsea's fine-dining style dinner menu of primarily plant-based, haute-healthy dishes will remain available in the main dining room nightly, and the Rouge Tomate Cafe dinner menu will be available in the bar area of the restaurant with table service, according to the release.

Topics: Franchising & Growth

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