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As restaurant doors shutter throughout the country and foodservice employees scramble for work, EllaMia cafe has a plan to alleviate some of the losses. This year, we can expect to see 22 new EllaMia locations pop up around the country, with two of those being in San Diego.
One of EllaMia’s self-described “digital kitchen” operations will open near the University Town Center at 4330 La Jolla Village Dr, while the other will set up shop in the Gaslamp Quarter at 101 W. Broadway. These branches will include dine-in, catering, and delivery services. While EllaMia was initially inspired by Los Angeles craft coffee culture, it launched its first-ever location in London. Since then, they have branched out to Dubai and New York. This 2021 expansion will be their most ambitious yet.
EllaMia is a product of C³, also known as Creating Culinary Communities. Their business model, while unusual for the San Diego restaurant scene, prioritizes digital innovation. As described in their latest press release, they plan to take advantage of underutilized locations by setting up multiple brand’s kitchen spaces within a single storefront.
Brad Reynolds, chief operating officer of EllaMia’s parent organization C³, explained the digital kitchen in a press release on Jan. 5:
“A true restaurant of the future, EllaMia kitchens are each equipped to fluidly prepare foods from different C³ concepts to maximize efficiency of real estate and labor,” Reynolds said. “The added availability of different cuisine to accommodate varying consumer preferences is another benefit for each local EllaMia community.”
While C³ is the mastermind behind the EllaMia roll-out, sbe is the parent company of C³. sbe is the hospitality company behind over a dozen American hotels and many more night clubs and restaurants, including Hyde Bar and Katsuya. With the new expansion, C³ plans to incorporate different culinary brands (like Umami Burger and Krispy Rice) into a singular kitchen, so EllaMia’s customers will be able to select a range of products in one delivery order.
Other EllaMia cafe kitchens to launch around California include nine locations in the Bay Area and two in Orange County. Throughout this expansion, they plan on hiring up to 500 employees to staff their 22 new locations.