Neighborhood bar and eatery Bar Louie has an aggressive expansion plan to fuel its solid growth. The casual-dining restaurant chain, which currently operates 75 locations in the U.S., has 40 projected new openings for 2013 and 2014.
Some of the markets Bar Louie is about to open locations in include Ashburn, VA; Minnetonka, MN; Rochester, NY; and Boston. The Addison, TX-based company also plans for nearly 100 new corporate and 100 franchise locations across the U.S. within the next five years.
Founded in 1990 in Chicago, Bar Louie won the 2011 Cheers Beverage Excellence Award for “Best Chain Overall Beverage Program.” The concept’s niche is its 50/50 beverages/food mix; on the drinks side, 60% of beverage sales come liquor, 35% from beer and 5% from wine, says Bar Louie’s beverage director Blake Rohrabaugh.
While it’s known largely for hand-crafted cocktails, the chain has been working on its wine program in the past two years, he says. On the beer front, Bar Louie is emphasizing its craft, local and draft offerings. “People are more willing to try new things” when it comes to beer than they used to be, Rohrabaugh notes. The chain is unveiling a new cider cocktail on its winter drink menu, he says.