City Approves CAVA Grill in Downtown St. Johns | Jax Daily Record | Jacksonville Daily Record
The city approved a permit June 2 to convert Zoës Kitchen in downtown St. Johns into CAVA Grill, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant.
The CAVA group bought Zoës Kitchen, also a Mediterranean cuisine concept, four years ago and converted the locations.
Embree Construction Group Inc. of Georgetown, Texas is the contractor for the $175,000 project to remodel the 2,230 square foot Zoës kitchen at 4624 Town Crossing Drive, #149.
At least three of the five Zoës in the Jacksonville area are identified for conversion to CAVA.
The Brooklyn Station site plan on Riverside shows CAVA Grill in the 3,100 square foot Zoës space at 90 Riverside Ave. The city has also reviewed the CAVA Group’s preliminary plans to renovate this $175,000 Zoës.
The cava.com website shows the Zoës kitchen at 13920 Old St. Augustine Road in Bartram Village in its careers section.
Zoës also operates at 10422 San Jose Blvd, Mandarin and 240 Florida A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Washington, DC-based CAVA Group purchased Plano, Texas-based Zoës in late 2018.
Zoës offers a Mediterranean-themed menu that includes hummus, falafel, salads, soups, pitas, kebabs, plates, bowls, and sandwiches.
CAVA Grill offers a range of build-your-own products allowing diners to choose from bases, dips and spreads, proteins and toppings, including lamb meatballs, roasted vegetables and grilled chicken. It serves bowls, pitas and salads.
Nation’s Restaurant News reported on March 24, 2021 that CAVA Group’s acquisition of Zoës for $300 million grew the company from 66 to 326 locations in the United States.
The CAVA Grill site shows 230 locations in 17 states and Washington, D.C.
CAVA Grill does not list any restaurants in Florida, although it has filed conversion plans for some Zoës.
The CAVA Careers page displays job openings in St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Winter Park and Winter Springs.
Zoës Kitchen lists 93 restaurants in 15 states. It shows 19 in Florida, including the five in the Jacksonville area.
Restaurantdive.com said in March 2021 that the CAVA Group had converted seven Zoës and planned to change others.
NRN.com quoted Brett Schulman, CEO and co-founder of CAVA Group at the time of the sale:
“Our goal has always been to bring CAVA to more communities, and with the acquisition, we have been able to strategically expand and diversify our property portfolio, unlocking significant value through large-scale, profitable property conversions.”
He said “conversions are an efficient and cost effective way to enter the market, as we are repurposing much of the existing catering infrastructure when converting to a CAVA location”.
He said one of the motivations behind the acquisition of Zoës was the channel’s presence in suburban communities, noting that the CAVA group had seen a shift towards suburban living before the pandemic began.
“As the pandemic accelerated the shift to suburban living, with people leaving the big cities at a faster rate than ever before, we were able to accelerate plans to convert Zoës Kitchen locations to continue to meet customers there where they are,” he said.
NRN.com said the acquisition offered CAVA Group opportunities for menu synergies between the two Mediterranean-themed concepts.
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