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Celeb chef to grow veg-centric chain at colleges, hospitals, senior living

Jose Andres, the fine-dining chef and restaurateur behind Beefsteak, said yesterday that he sees opportunity to grow the “vegetable-forward” fast-casual restaurant concept in noncommercial venues. jose andres sxsw

Currently, two locations are operating, and three more are in the works. Two of those are near college campuses—George Washington University in Washington, D.C., open now, and University of Pennsylvania, opening this spring. Hospitals also are nearby.

Andres’ goal with Beefsteak, a concept he describes as “fast good,” is to feed healthier, cleaner food to the masses at an affordable price point. “I do believe the great thing we are seeing at the beginning of the century is that chefs really are getting involved, not only with feeding the few. We want to be involved with feeding the many,” Andres told the audience Monday at South by Southwest, the technology and entertainment conference going on in Austin, Texas. “It’s hard to do that with $50, $60, $70 check averages.”

He sees Beefsteak growing to 100 locations in five or six years, and his ThinkFoodGroup raised $1 million in December toward that goal. At that quick pace, Andres says he’s looking for friendly territory to open future Beefsteaks, and the focus on health and wellness in noncommercial is a draw. “I am opening in an urban environment that has a college, a hospital,” Andres said. “I hope one day that Beefsteak can go into retirement areas or that can be feeding our elderly. I do see this as a concept that has legs to many different groups.”

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