Brazil-based Spoleto, a fast-casual Italian restaurant chain that lets customers choose ingredients for their entrees, plans to open six of its first seven California locations in San Diego County.
The first will be opening in Irvine following an expected completion in early October 2016, according to San Diego-based architecture firm Delawie, which designed the Irvine restaurant and is in talks to design more Southern California locations.
The Irvine eatery will be followed by six others planned in San Diego County. Specific locations are not being released, pending real estate acquisitions, but the eateries are slated to open in coming years in University Towne Center, Mission Valley, Mira Mesa, Pacific Beach, La Mesa and Encinitas.
The Irvine restaurant will open at University Center, near UC Irvine. Delawie officials said the 3,200-square-foot-interior concept includes an open dining room where customers will be able to watch their food being prepared by Spoleto chefs, and the eatery will also have a 600-square-foot exterior dining patio.
The franchised restaurants, which carry the name Spoleto – My Italian Kitchen, operate with a format similar to chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, applied to Italian items. Customers choose from an array of fresh ingredients on a menu that includes pastas, flatbreads and salads.
Started in 2007, Spoleto is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and operates more than 400 restaurants in countries including Brazil, Mexico and Spain. Its first U.S. restaurants opened last year in Florida.
Delawie was founded in 1961 and is led by principals M. Andrew Rodrigues, Paul Schroeder, Frank Ternasky and Michael Asaro. It has more than 50 design professionals and is currently at work on other projects including a Moxy hotel by Marriott and Canopy by Hilton, both in downtown San Diego.