A decades-old Las Vegas-based sandwich franchise known for its freshly roasted turkey heroes and cheesesteaks is submarining into Austin with four new sandwich shops, thanks to a local franchisee who’s long had a slice of action in the local restaurant scene.
Capriotti’s, which was founded in 1976 in Delaware, is expanding its Texas presence with a variety of locations opening this year in the Capital City. The first spot, opened in late April, is a ghost-kitchen concept located in the North Loop neighborhood that solely offers pickup and delivery service.
Franchisee and restaurant vet Julian King — previously the director of operations for the wildly popular Austin-based Via 313 Pizzeria brand — will open the first brick-and-mortar Capriotti’s location at 1200 Barbara Jordan Blvd. in the Mueller development later this year. Another brick-and-mortar shop will open in the Hill Country Galleria in December. At least one additional sub shop will open after that, though the location is still up in the air.
King is joined in the local franchises by business partner Warren Shu, who grew up in Delaware and has much familiarity with the Capriotti’s brand.
“When the opportunity presented itself to Warren and I to go into business together, it was a no-brainer that Capriotti’s was the right investment for us,” King says. “A loyalty to the brand, coupled with Capriotti’s outstanding corporate support, made our decision to open four locations in Austin very simple.”
The four-store franchise agreement came about after King and Shu realized a quality sandwich shop concept would stand out among Austin’s fast-casual dining scene, which has more than its fair share of taco joints, burger parlors, and barbecue eateries, but not so many sandwich shops.
Though Austin does enjoy some truly crave-worthy sandwiches — Elizabeth Street Café’s banh mis, Gourmands’ Foghorn Leghorn, Little Deli’s classic pastrami among them — Capriotti’s closest local competition might be Austin’s beloved ThunderCloud Subs, which was founded a year before Capriotti’s and maintains a cult-like level of devotion from Austinites.
Still, King and Shu are adamant that Capriotti’s will bring something new to Austin, including its signature sub and bestseller, The Bobbie, a slow-roasted turkey sub topped with cranberry sauce and stuffing, voted the best sandwich in America by AOL readers.
“When looking at the big picture, there are immense growth opportunities for Capriotti’s in the Austin market,” Shu says. “We are excited to bring something unique, quick, and convenient but offer the quality of a full-service concept to Austin residents.”
The new Austin locations are part of a bigger expansion for Capriotti’s, which currently has 110 company-owned and franchised shops in 15 states. The company plans to grow to more than 500 locations by 2025.
Aside from the Austin sub shops, Capriotti’s only other Texas location is in El Paso.