Cava Mezze Grill, the homegrown chain of fast-casual Greek restaurants, has secured $16 million in venture capital to help fund an expansion to Los Angeles, the company announced Wednesday.
The Rockville-based company has raised a total of $21.65 million in venture capital since 2010. The latest round of Series C funding will also help Cava expand its line of dips and spreads to Whole Foods markets in the Midwest.
“We looked at everything: cities on the East Coast, in the heartland, on the West Coast,” said Brett Schulmann, chief executive of Cava. “In the end, we decided on L.A. because it’s a great market with a health-conscious population.”
The company has signed deals to open two Cava Grill restaurants in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Westwood Village and Woodland Hills. Each new location costs between $500,000 and $800,000 to open, Schulman said.
Ted Xenohristos, one of the company’s three founders, will be moving to Los Angeles to oversee the company’s West Coast operations.
Cava Grill, the fast-casual spin off of the full-service Cava Mezze, has become a $30-million-dollar-a-year enterprise with 300 employees and a number of packaged dips that are sold at grocery stores along the East Coast.
Xenohristos and childhood friends Ike Grigoropoulos and Dimitri Moshovitis opened their first Cava restaurant in Rockville in 2006.
In the years since, the company’s enterprise has grown to include 11 Cava Grill locations in the Washington area, including one at Reagan National Airport, and three full-service restaurants. Schulman said the company plans to eventually expand into other parts of the country as well.
The latest round of funding was led by Leesburg-based SWaN & Legend Venture Partners.