The best and brightest restaurant companies are not just creating one great concept; they’re creating many. See Restaurant Hospitality‘s picks for powerful multi-concept companies that not only play it cool, they kick ass.
Annual sales: $40-45 million
• Jason Akemann, co-owner
• Nathan Hilding, co-owner
• Chris Bisaillon, co-owner
• Trace (a Chicago Wrigleyville neighborhood tavern)
• The Boundary Tavern & Grille (a neighborhood bar with an extensive craft beer list)
• Sweetwater Tavern & Grill (modern American fare on Michigan Ave.)
• South Branch Tavern & Grille (a riverfront restaurant with American cuisine)
• Howells & Hood (craft beers and contemporary American cuisine at in Chicago’s Tribune Tower)
• Old Town Pour House (a neighborhood tavern with craft beers and American cuisine; 2 units in Chicago, 1 in Gaithersburg, MD)
• Additional units of Old Town Pour House are planned for Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
WHY IT’S COOL:
Three college classmate came together to create terrific restaurant concepts with a strong focus on taverns that feature better-than-you’d-expect American cuisine. Think of their restaurants as master’s level places for those who have graduated beyond the ordinary. Many of their concepts have a craft- beer focus and are comfortable, approachable and, most of all, fun hangouts. Their Old Town Pour House appears to have broken out of the pack to become their go-to expansion vehicle. It’s no wonder: This is a concept with the legs to travel anywhere in the country, without a bottleneck in site.