A fast-growing healthy eating restaurant chain is going green in Colorado Springs.
Green District of Louisville, Ky., which specializes in salads, wraps and grain bowls, has targeted an Aug. 23 opening at the Briargate Crossing shopping center, southeast of Powers Boulevard and Briargate Parkway on the far northeast side, said co-founder and chief development officer Chris Furlow.
A second Green District is slated to open in October at the north-side Polaris Pointe development, southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard, he said.
Founded in 2017, the chain has nine locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, its website shows.
By year’s end, Green District expects to have a total of 25 restaurants, which will include the two in the Springs and another scheduled to open in September in the Denver Tech Center, Furlow said. At least five to six more locations are envisioned in 2023, he said.
He and Jordan Doepke, Green District’s other co-founder and CEO, have looked to expand their brand to good-sized markets that might have been bypassed by quick-serve, healthy-eating options. Their strategy, however, avoids large metro areas such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Furlow said.
“We had real good success in Louisville, Ky.,” he said. “We’re about three to four hours south of Chicago. Chicago would be an obvious no-brainer for a major, growing development. (But) that’s where we say it’s not fair that the surrounding markets don’t get these other concepts, like an Indianapolis, a Cincinnati, a Nashville.
“When we said we’re going to grow, we always wanted to be faithful to going out to the, I don’t want to say smaller markets, but the ones that don’t quite have the big skyscrapers and the towers,” Furlow added. “You can call it a secondary market, a ‘B’ city, if you will. I would say ones where, to us, you can have a bigger impact in a smaller community rather than being lost in the wilds of a huge city.”
Doepke spent several years living in Colorado Springs and was familiar with the area and its quality of life, Furlow said.
Now, the Springs’ booming population makes it attractive, yet it still fits the chain’s desire to locate in metro areas that aren’t too big, he said.
“It’s another market outside of a major city,” Furlow said.
Green District offers several varieties of salads with more than 50 ingredients, including fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses. Customers can design their own wraps and choose from grain bowls that offer rice, quinoa and other items.
Green District emphasizes fresh and healthy fare, with items prepared daily in on-site kitchens, including made-from-scratch dressings and sauces, Furlow said.
“We want to have healthy food that’s accessible,” he said. “It’s quick, it’s on the go and we want to make sure that people know when they’re eating at Green District, they’re getting a good value for their money in terms of the product, because everything comes in fresh daily.”
Green District’s restaurant at Briargate Crossing will have 2,170 square feet, while the Polaris Pointe location will be slightly smaller at 2,000 square feet.
Each restaurant will have seating for about 20 people; the Polaris Pointe location also will have a drive-thru, which will be a first for the Green District chain, Furlow said. The restaurants each will employ 20 to 25 people.
Furlow said he and Doepke expect to add more Green District locations in Colorado Springs and Denver — likely ending up with four in each market.
“We want to get the first few off and running,” he said. “We never want to just go into a location with just one.”