A Bay Area coffee shop specializing in hand-crafted pourovers. A DIY salad chain that refers to its CEO as Commander-in-Leaf. A breakfast sandwich joint with an edgy name. A New York burger transplant. A Chipotle-of-poke-bowls.
All the best fast-casual restaurant tropes are there, and they’re all going to be packed tightly in a row across the street from the Americana at Brand in Glendale.
By Fall 2016, shoppers too busy to wait for xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung will have their pick of five industry darlings: Philz Coffee, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, Eggslut, Shake Shack, and Mainland Poke. It’s pretty much going to be Disneyland for people who love great food and branding but hate tipping and sitting down for extended periods of time.
The all-star lineup was curated (their press release word, not mine) by Caruso Affiliated, the real estate company also responsible for the Grove, Americana at Brand, and The Masonic Temple. The move is meant to inject a youth-y, foodie-forward breath of fresh air into Glendale’s Brand street. And, frankly, it seems like a genius move.
Assuming Green Leaf and Mainland can keep pace with the likes of Sweetgreen and Sweetfin in their respective DIY salad and poke wars, this is a quintet of restaurants that have some serious cult-cool name recognition but are also safe and accessible enough to park next to a big-ass mall.
It’s the same concept as when Panera Breads started springing up next to Target stores in the mid 2000s causing an infinite feedback loop of people consuming high-ish quality things in clean environments with absolutely no risk of being disappointed. In both instances, you know exactly what you’re getting, you know the surroundings you’re getting it in, and you’re happy enough about it.