- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 9, 2003

Washington will get a new taste of gourmet wraps, sandwiches and smoothies when Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe enters the area next month.

The Tulsa, Okla.-based “fast-casual” restaurant chain has an aggressive franchisee expansion plan that includes about 40 locations in the District and Northern Virginia, said David Rutkauskas, founder and chief executive.

Mr. Rutkauskas said Camille’s, which is named after his wife, will open in Arlington by mid-December. Locations in Herndon, Reston, Fairfax and the District likely will follow in 2004.

“This is an important market for us,” he said. “Everybody travels to D.C.”

The cafes range in size from 2,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet and have about 40 employees each.

The restaurants have everything from a simple chicken caesar wrap to a Bangkok Thai wrap made with grilled chicken, provolone, romaine, sprouts, carrots, crunchy noodles, water chestnuts and sesame oriental dressing in a spinach tortilla. The menu also includes grilled hot wraps, sandwiches such as apple-walnut tuna and smoothies such as Blueberries Cozumel, which is made of blueberries, peaches, honey and pineapple juice.

The company wanted to capitalize on sales during the entire day — not just during lunch — so it created special breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner and catering features.

Camille’s breakfast menu includes Sunrise Natu-Wraps, which are soft, steamed tortillas filled with low-cholesterol eggs, jasmine rice and other fresh ingredients. Free wireless Internet connections are expected to attract customers during the afternoon.

“You still want the conveniences of fast food, but you don’t want to go to a Taco Bell,” Mr. Rutkauskas said.

The 7-year-old company, which has one corporate-owned unit and another opening in 2004, started in a 200-square-foot location at a Tulsa mall.

The company now has 26 cafes in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado and South Dakota. Each restaurant averages about $1.35 million in sales annually. Sixteen more stores are expected to open by the end of the year.

Mr. Rutkauskas expects Camille’s to have 125 locations and $100 million in sales by the end of 2004.

In other news …

• Federal Realty Investment Trust, based in Rockville, acquired Plaza del Mercado in Silver Spring for $20 million. The shopping center, developed in 1969, has about 96,000 square feet of retail space, including a 24,000-square-foot Giant Food and CVS Pharmacy.

• Another Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened last week in Herndon. The 2,000-square-foot site is the chain’s second franchise restaurant. The company has five other corporate-owned locations in the area.

• The Crystal City Marriott opened its new restaurant and lounge last month. The renovated CC Bistro Lounge and Restaurant, with an updated look and menu, replaced the hotel’s traditional JW Restaurant and Lounge.

• McCormick & Schmick’s plans to open a restaurant at the corner of 20th Street and Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The 7,000-square-foot seafood restaurant is slated to open next fall.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.


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