A Mediterranean restaurant chain last week opened its first Richmond location and already is planning to expand to Short Pump.
Zoës Kitchen opened April 24 at 1601 Willow Lawn Drive. The publicly traded chain set up shop in a 3,400-square-foot space in the Shops at Willow Lawn near the new American Tap Room and the soon-to-open Travinia Italian Kitchen & Bar. The three restaurants are part of a new restaurant row for the shopping center.
Zoës isn’t stopping there. It plans to open in October in a 2,800-square-foot property at the Corner at Short Pump shopping center at West Broad Street and Lauderdale Drive.
Tony Fratoe, Zoës’ regional operator for Virginia, said more storefronts could be in the works.
Richmond “is certainly a sustainable market for (more) locations,” Fratoe said. “We look for that upwardly mobile-educated-affluent demographic.”
Zoës serves Mediterranean fare with a Southern U.S. influence. It competes with the likes of Panera and Chipotle, Fratoe said.
The Willow Lawn Zoës is the company’s ninth in Virginia, joining spots in Northern Virginia, Charlottesville and Lynchburg. It now has 116 locations across the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Texas.
“We’ve already opened 17 stores this year,” Fratoe said. “We’re targeting 30 to 40 (new locations) for the year.”
A Williamsburg Zoës is slated to open in July, and locations in Newport News, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake are expected in 2015, he said.
Zoës went public in April with an IPO at $15 a share, according to the company’s website. Its stock closed Wednesday at $26.25 per a share.
Husband-and-wife team Zoe and Marcus Cassimus opened the first Zoes in 1995 in Alabama. John, their son, and Archie Andrews opened a second location later that same year. Last year, the company moved its headquarters to Plano, Texas.