When restaurateur José Andrés was looking to raise money to expand his fast-casual concept, he turned to a few old friends, including venture capitalists Steve Case and Michael Klein.
Also on his list: Gwyneth Paltrow.
The actress-turned-cookbook-author, it turns out, is a frequent visitor to Beefsteak, Andrés’s new vegetable-focused eatery.
“She told me kind of jokingly, ‘José, if you need investors, let me know,’ ” Andrés said. “So I said, ‘Hey Gwynnie, now is the moment.’ ”
In all, he raised $9.25 million from eight investors, according to a Dec. 30 Securities and Exchange Commission filing — Paltrow included, Andrés said.
Andrés would not disclose how much each investor contributed, but the filing shows that each invested a minimum of $100,000.
Paltrow declined to comment for this story.
Andrés also received funding from venture capital firms SWaN & Legend in Leesburg and Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif. (Klein, co-founder and chairman of the Sunlight Foundation, and Case, co-founder of Revolution, both invested as individuals, not on behalf of their firms.)
“We consider this a great up-and-coming company,” said Fredrick D. Schaufeld, managing director of SWaN & Legend. “The food tastes great, it has the flavor of José Andrés, as well as the market strength of José Andrés.”
Schaufeld declined to say how much his firm had invested in Beefsteak, but said it was “a fair amount.”
The money is to be used to fuel the expansion of Beefsteak, which debuted last spring with locations in Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle. Additional locations in Tenleytown and at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia are also in the works.
Andrés, one of the most well-known of the area’s celebrity chefs, has helped put Washington on the map as a foodie destination with nearly a dozen area restaurants, including Jaleo, Zaytinya and Minibar.
With Beefsteak, his first foray into fast-casual dining, he says he has developed a model that can be easily replicable around the country.
“If this concept proves it has legs, this is very exciting for what is to come,” Andrés said. “We’re proving that the love for vegetables is very big and broad.”
As for his future fundraising rounds, Andrés says he has his eye on another celebrity friend: MC Hammer.
“Every time he’s in D.C., he eats five times a day at Beefsteak,” Andrés said.