Apr 17, 2024 - Food and Drink

Scoop: José Andrés is done with veggie fast-casual Beefsteak (for now)

Jose Andres in a black vest and white shirt holding a tomato with a glass of wine

José Andrés and his veggies. Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

José Andrés has permanently closed the last remaining location of Beefsteak in Foggy Bottom — an end (for now) to his fast-casual, vegetarian-ish chain.

Why it matters: The vegetable-focused venture was wildly popular and launched with Chipotle-esque aspirations to "feed millions in a day, and feed them well" (Andrés' words), backed by deep pockets and the chef's Midas touch.

Catch up quick: Beefsteak boomed onto the scene in 2015, opening its flagship George Washington University location in the heat of the fast-casual trend and just before "plant-based"-everything (tagline, and later, cookbook: "Vegetables Unleashed").

  • Gwyneth Paltrow invested 100K the following year — just a slice of Beefsteak's $9.25 million investments in one round.
  • By 2018, Beefsteak was bringing in $3.5 million in sales between six locations from Chicago to Miami, according to QSR.

Zoom in: The "good food, fast" ethos was built on customizable vegetable and grain bowls with leafy greens and cooked-to-order veggies from local-when-possible farms.

  • The brand targeted college campuses and health care facilities like the Cleveland Clinic for its wallet-friendly, healthy menu.
A group of workers in blue t-shirts and denim caps plate bowls of vegetables at Beefsteak Restaurant in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
Beefsteak. Photo: Scott Suchman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Between the lines: Those strategic locations were hard-hit during the pandemic when the José Andrés Group temporarily closed several Beefsteaks — turning some restaurants into emergency "community kitchens"— and permanently shuttered branches in Dupont Circle and Westfield Montgomery Mall.

  • The group tells Axios they decided not to renew their lease at the GW location, which since the winter has been listed as "temporarily closed."

The intrigue: Beefsteak may sprout again. Asked by Axios if there are plans to open future locations, a representative tells us the "Beefsteak brand is one José Andrés Group will continue to support."

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