Vapiano, a chain of "fresh casual" Italian-inspired restaurants based in Europe, will soon land in Chicago. The restaurants have already popped up in Washington, D.C., Boston and New York and will open up in Lincoln Park at 2577 N. Clark this summer.
The concept essentially allows diners to have a somewhat upscale cafeteria-like dining experience, but in a more relaxed atmosphere without the high prices; everything comes in under $12. The food, according to the Vapiano website, is all made fresh and in-house, including pastas and hand-tossed pizza. Diners order food from various stations or the bar and the order gets added to a chip card, which tallies the total at the end.
"Why Chicago next? [It's the] next city similar to a European city," said Bill Bessette, CEO of Vapiano USA. He said they're also scouting a downtown location, possibly at 44 E. Grand, and already have three other locations under construction in other cities, including Reston, Va. and Charlotte, N.C.
Vapiano has more than 70 locations around the globe and plans to open 100 more in the U.S., Middle East and Europe, with a location opening in Mexico City late winter.
· Vapiano International [Website]