Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Dominik Stein.
Just two weeks after graduating from the McCombs School of Business, Dominik Stein and his partner, Michael Heyne, opened the first Verts Mediterranean Grill — originally named Vertskebap — near the UT campus in Austin. Five years later, the 29-year-old Stein heads up the fast-casual restaurant chain with more than 30 locations across the state of Texas. The first East Coast location opens later this year.
Verts is Mediterranean food, reimagined for American consumers, but based on the food from Stein and Heyne’s native Europe. Delicious meat, handmade falafel, rice bowls, salads, and wraps made with the freshest ingredients are on the menu at Verts locations every day, where service is quick enough for even the shortest of lunch breaks.
We caught up with Stein to learn more about his passion for tasty, healthy food.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Dominik Stein: My passion for combining a successful business model with a greater common good or common purpose — in our case, making the world a place with better, tastier, and healthier food.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference by innovating?
DS: Take an existing market or business model and simply do something better than others. Don’t look for the magic idea or try to reinvent the wheel.
There are plenty of good business models already in place. Sometimes making something better that already exists is easier and much more successful than trying something new.
CM: Sum up Texans in three words:
DS: Bigger. Better. Texas.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
DS: I used to be a DJ and team handball player when I was younger.
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
DS: The world has become a better place.
RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 25 at 800 Congress, to celebrate Stein and his fellow Austin winners.