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Atlanta born-and-bred quick-casual brand gusto! is making its debut outside of the Atlanta market with an opening in Athens, Ga. later this year, the bowls and salads chain announced Tuesday in a press release.
Slated to open in late 2021, situated on Alps Road in the heart of the city, gusto! creator Nate Hybl calls the expansion a “natural next move into a relatively new market” when “considering the connections Athens locals often have to Atlanta, whether they’re originally from Atlanta, have family in the city, and so forth.”
The 2,700 square-foot built-from-the-ground-up space will take over the former Inoko Japanese Steak & Seafood property, at 161 Alps Road, and will feature an outdoor patio and a drive-thru.
This will be gusto!’s third shop with a drive-thru, a model the team is emulating across all new openings, seeing the first drive-thru at gusto! Chamblee thrive throughout the pandemic.
“Athens is a special place to all of us,” Hybl said. “We’re grateful to have some existing fans in the area, or at least a bit of brand recognition given the proximity to Atlanta. With quality over quantity being one of our core values, we have a methodical approach to organic growth – and see this relatively new market as a natural progression for our brand. We know the Athens pride runs deep, and we can’t wait to engrain ourselves in the Classic City!”
Opening two shops in the height of the pandemic in 2020, totaling to seven shops since its founding in 2014, with an eighth on the horizon in Atlanta’s East Cobb neighborhood, gusto! Athens will be the ninth location for the burgeoning brand.
The menu at gusto! Athens will feature the same as at its fellow shops, with the option to select a base of mixed greens, rice, half and half, or steamed flatbread wrap. Guests select a grilled protein, such as chicken, umami tofu, or shrimp, among others, and top it with a choice of “gusto!” — or signature flavor profile — such as chile sesame BBQ, tzatziki lemon artichoke, or sweet soy sriracha, to name a few.
Along with the counter-service and drive-thru options, guests can order online for takeout or for delivery through third-party delivery partners. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily.