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$20 million investment will let Verts Kebap head to East Coast

An infusion of cash will enable Austin-based restaurant chain Verts Kebap to expand to the East Coast.

Verts Kebap executives said this week the company has received $20 million in private funding, paving the way for new locations in cities such as Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

The chain, which got its start in 2011, has grown to 26 locations, including 10 that opened this year. All, up until now, have been in Texas.

Each Verts location is corporately owned, and the company said it has no plans at this time to start franchising. The company doesn’t reveal revenue figures, but said it has an annual revenue goal of between $1 million and $1.5 million for each of its Texas locations.

The chain has about 300 total employees.

A popular street food in Europe, doner kebap – flatbread stuffed with spit-roasted meat, veggies and sauce – is the featured item on the menu at Verts.

“In the past five years we have developed a brand our guests love and food they crave,” Verts co-founder and CEO Michael Heyne said. “There is tremendous demand for fresh, flavorful, high-quality Mediterranean food from consumers on the East Coast, and we are very passionate about delivering it to them.”

Between five and 10 East Coast locations could open next year, the company said, as well as 10 to 12 more in Texas. At least two of those new locations will be in Central Texas, including ones at 301 N. Guadalupe St. in San Marcos and at 500 W. Canyon Ridge Drive in the Tech Ridge area in North Austin that will debut next month.

“This financing represents a landmark moment in our company’s growth,” Verts co-founder and chief financial officer Dominik Stein said. “It empowers us to continue to expand, as well as invest in key areas like technology and branding that will heighten the overall guest experience.”

As Verts adds locations, it’s also bulking up its executive ranks. The company this week hired Jason Donoho as executive chef and culinary director.

Donoho comes to Verts from Alamo Drafthouse, where he served as research and development chef.

“After meeting Michael and Dominik and hearing their vision, I knew that joining Verts was an incredible opportunity to spearhead culinary development for an expanding, progressive fast-casual brand,” he said. “I am excited to get into the kitchen and start developing new items that complement the existing Verts Kebap menu guests have come to love.”

Donoho will oversee a test kitchen set to open next month inside the original Verts at 2530 Guadalupe St. near the University of Texas campus. Diners there will soon be able to sample new creations before they make the menu at the chain’s other locations, Verts said.

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