- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2004

It’s not too cold to be thinking about smoothies if you’re Kevin Stargell. The area sales developer for Tropical Smoothie Cafe & Deli has set his sights on the Washington area, where he expects to open 30 to 40 locations within the next five to seven years.

“Building a brand is part of what is involved for the area sales developer,” Mr. Stargell said. “The best way to do that is to put stores on the map.”

Tropical Smoothie Cafe & Deli, which was started in Florida in 1997, offers 40 varieties of smoothies from the Blue Lagoon with blueberries, strawberries and banana to Mocha Madness with chocolate, coffee, cappuccino and yogurt.

The restaurants also have an extensive menu of wraps, sandwiches, hoagies and salads.

The locations, which have a funky tropical feel complete with palm trees, are typically 1,500 to 2,000 square feet with 30 to 40 seats.

“It’s a few steps up from your run-of-the-mill corner deli,” Mr. Stargell said.

Mr. Stargell is in negotiations for a location in the District and hopes to have at least three sites in the area by the end of this year.

Tropical Smoothie, based in Shalimar, Fla., has more than 100 locations in 20 states. The closest site opened in Sterling, Va., last summer.

Phillips keeps fishing

Phillips Seafood is expanding its “fast-casual” restaurant concept in the Washington area and down South.

The restaurant, called Phillips Famous Seafood, will open next month at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. The 2,500-square-foot, 125-seat restaurant will be built and operated by HMSHost Corp., the Bethesda-based airport concessions operator.

HMSHost has worked with Phillips for more than two years, offering some of the company’s products at airports such as Baltimore-Washington International. The concessionaire plans to introduce Phillips products at more of the airport bars and lounges that it operates.

Phillips Famous Seafood, which debuted in October in Rockville, is a modern version of the 45-year-old Phillips family-style seafood restaurants.

Phillips plans to have five company-operated Famous Seafood locations by the end of 2004, including sites in Columbia, Md., and Silver Spring. Both are slated to open in late March or April. Another five locations are expected to open in 2005, a company spokeswoman said.

Oodles of noodles

Noodles & Co. opened its sixth location in the Washington-Baltimore area last week in Vienna, Va.

The chain, which offers signature noodle dishes such as Japanese pan noodles and Wisconsin mac & cheese, has plans to open five more stores in the area by midsummer. Those sites are in Rockville, Alexandria, Silver Spring, Columbia, Md., and Bel Air, Md.

The Boulder, Colo.-based company, which debuted in this market in July 2002, has other locations in Gaithersburg, College Park, Pikesville, Md., Arlington and Fairfax. The Vienna restaurant has 2,300 square feet and about 30 employees.

Noodles & Co. has 82 restaurants in nine states and will have 105 to 110 company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants by the end of the year.

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

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