Philadelphia, PA

HipCityVeg Opens First NYC Location

Marilyn Johnson

After making it through the most challenging period imaginable for restaurants with all locations intact, and now hitting record sales, HipCityVeg, the plant-based fast-casual restaurant group based in Philadelphia, is resuming its aggressive growth strategy this fall, adding 8 locations by February. The company currently has locations throughout the Philadelphia area, where it is adding 3 locations, and in Washington, DC, where it is adding 2 stores.

This week HipCityVeg enters the hyper-competitive New York City Market, with a flagship location in the Union Square neighborhood at 28 E. 12th Street, which opens on Thursday, October 28th. It will also open delivery-only locations in Brooklyn and Queens this fall and winter.

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HipCityVeg opens its first restaurant in New York CityHipCityVeg

By February, the independent, woman-led, vegan fast-casual chain that opened its first restaurant in Philadelphia in 2012, will have more than doubled its current number of stores to 15 across the Mid-Atlantic region.

HipCityVeg’s expansion strategy embraces delivery and pickup only locations, which the company calls “Go Kitchens” in addition to brick and mortars. The pandemic saw a dramatic consumer behavior shift to takeout and delivery, which has stuck, so having some locations that offer delivery only makes sense and allows the company to grow and serve additional customers more quickly, according to CEO and Founder, Nicole Marquis. 

“During the Pandemic, we had to quickly develop ways to get our food to more people’s homes faster and fresher. Our expansion strategy reflects those learnings,” Marquis said.

The company says its online orders, including delivery, have more than tripled from what they were pre-Pandemic.

“This novel approach responds to the unique moment we are in, with more consumers wanting to enjoy their favorite foods at home. Yet, we don’t want to lose the in-person experience that makes restaurants destinations and community gathering places, so we are taking a hybrid approach to growth,” according to Marquis.

The company has also invested heavily in its team in 2021, including raising the starting minimum wage for its hourly staff across all markets to $15 an hour in July (in Philadelphia, where the company is based, the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour), and enhancing other benefits including paid time off, free employee meals, and health and dental benefits.

“We need the most talented and committed people to help us reach our ambitious goals of getting affordable plant-based food to millions of people. Our team is truly incredible, and we want employees to know that we offer careers, not just jobs, in an industry and for a company that is on the cutting edge.”

The past year has seen unprecedented interest and investment in plant-based brands, as sustainability becomes a more pressing concern and an opportunity for consumers and investors.

Eating more plant-based meals is one of the most impactful things individuals can do to fend off the impending climate crisis, according to HipCityVeg. The U.N. reports that animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the combined emissions from all transportation.

“We see this as the ideal time to grow our brand and have a bold vision. People are realizing they can get the foods they crave, and enjoy them in a way that has a much, much lower impact on the planet while aligning with their compassionate values,” according to Marquis.

HipCityVeg's NYC location will be open daily from 10 AM to 10 PM.

“No matter where people enjoy plant-based foods, whether it’s at HipCityVeg, or wherever is most convenient for them, it’s so important for all of our futures to have more affordable, convenient, and delicious ways to do so. Plant-based is the future, and now is the moment,” Marquis said.

Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news: phillygrub@gmail.com. Travel tips: phillygrubtrips@gmail.com.

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Marilyn Johnson is a Philadelphia area-based food and travel writer focusing on food & drink in the Mid-Atlantic region. Email phillygrub@gmail.com for Philly area news; phillygrubtrips@gmail.com for travel tips and opportunities.

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