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Fazoli’s to debut new Italian fast-casual concept in Baltimore, Kentucky

Published 09 October 2013

Baltimore diners will be the first to experience Venti-Tre, the new Italian fast-casual restaurant from Fazoli’s, the nation’s largest Italian quick-service restaurant chain.

Fazoli's CEO Carl Howard announced preliminary details in May. Today, its name and first location are being revealed at a grand opening event for The Shops at Canton Crossing. A "modern Italian" concept, Venti-Tre (23 in Italian) will feature an innovative, highly customizable menu with 23 fresh toppings every day. It will open in early 2014.

"Venti-Tre will appeal to adventurous diners who are passionate about Italian food," Howard said. "It will be a fresh, exciting alternative with an emphasis on imaginative, 'better-for-you' food served in a comfortable environment."

Guests will choose a piada, pasta or salad, then select from several grilled meats or vegetables, including rosemary garlic steak, Tuscan lemon chicken and meatballs. Piadas and pastas will be sauced with such options as House Pomodoro, Parmigiano fonduta, Vino bianco & garlic, while salads will be dressed with white balsamic, lemon red wine herb vinaigrette, light pomegranate or other choices. Toppings will range from Bruschetta tomato basil, fried capers, focaccia croutons and sliced hot sopressata, to rosemary sea salt potato hay and a wild mushroom blend.

Cheeses include parmesan, mozzarella/provolone, asiago, mozzarella ciliegini or feta, while sides range from focaccia, polenta fries with dipping sauce, tomato basil soup and roasted Italian vegetables. Mini tiramisu parfaits and cinnamon sugar bomboloni add a final, sweet touch to the menu. An Italian soda bar will provide a unique beverage choice in addition to beer, wine and soft drinks. Prices are expected to range from $9 to $11.

"Fazoli's Italian experience - combined with our infrastructure and support systems - will allow us to move into the Italian fast-casual segment very quickly and efficiently," he said. "Our goal is to be an early leader in a category that has the potential to explode."

The Eastern Seaboard is targeted for growth, with a search underway for a second site in Maryland. Franchising will begin when the Baltimore restaurant opens. "We are already seeing strong interest from prospective franchisees," Howard said. "This tells us the concept has tremendous potential."

Based in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli's is owned by Sun Capital Partners.