Shapiro’s Delicatessen announced Wednesday it will expand its brand into the Cincinnati market and says it's looking for similar opportunities in other nearby cities.
The kosher-style deli will license its name and dining experience to a new restaurant to open next spring in Blue Ash, a suburb northeast of Cincinnati. Shapiro's has a confidentiality agreement with its partner and has not released the new restaurant owner's name.
"We’ve been working on and off for several years, looking at Cincinnati and other cities within a two-hour range of Indianapolis," Sally Shapiro, director of marketing and customer service for Shapiro's, told IBJ. "We're looking for cities with strong Jewish populations that know the Shapiro’s brand and quality. In this case, the stars all aligned."
The Ohio restaurant will feature traditional favorites from Shapiro’s cafeteria in downtown Indianapolis as well as updated sandwiches and other dishes served at its Fashion Mall at Keystone location, which the company refers to as its Twisted Tradition concept.
It also will include a catering department that will serve events and group business lunches.
“Shapiro’s is creating a casual restaurant to meet the growing demand for fresh food prepared with local ingredients that caters to the business lunch crowd as well as families looking for a great meal,” Shapiro’s President Brian Shapiro said in a written statement.
The deal to create the Ohio restaurant is not a franchise agreement, Sally Shapiro said. Instead, it is a licensing agreement similar to the one that led to the Shapiro's location at the Indianapolis International Airport. In that case, Shapiro's licensed its name to SSP America, which also manages the airport's Indy 500 Grill and Harry & Izzy's locations.
Shapiro's will be working with a different partner in Ohio.
The original Shapiro’s opened in 1905 as a grocery selling kosher deli meats cooked on site at the corner of McCarty and Meridian streets in Indianapolis. It grew into a restaurant in the mid-1930s and has remained at the same location.
It also has the locations at the Fashion Mall and airport.
Sally Shapiro said the company is interested in finding additional locations outside Indianapolis, although none are currently planned. "The restaurant business is as much about real estate as it is quality and service," she said. "So there’s been a lot of looking and a lot of hoping and this time it worked. We found the right spot."
The Blue Ash restaurant will be located in a standalone building in a shopping area. "There is talk of the future with this same partner," Sally Shapiro said.
The expansion to Cincinnati is a return to some of the family’s roots. Brian Shapiro’s mother, Arlene, was raised in Cincinnati and his grandfather, Harry Greenberg, was a Cincinnati dentist and co-founder of the city’s Crest Hills Country Club.