Zooba to open first US branch in Manhattan
EXCLUSIVE- Zooba raises USD 4mn in funding for drive to expand into New York. Our friends at Egyptian street food restaurant chain Zooba are set to open their first US location in the Manhattan neighborhood of Nolita, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The Egyptian dining chain raised USD 4mn to fund the flagship outlet as part of its “long-term aim of spreading across the US like bessara on baladi bread.” Key team members including founder and CEO Chris Khalifa will be relocating stateside to oversee the expansion, which will begin with the “scale out of the Zooba brand in the city.” Former Zooba marketing manager Ahmed Fahmy will take over as Egypt country manager. “Representing Egyptian street food and culture the world over is no longer simply our goal; it is our mission,” the company said.
Zooba is also expanding into Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where it recently signed its first franchise agreement, Khalifa told us yesterday from New York, adding that he expects the company’s first location to open in Riyadh before this summer. The run caps a busy fall-winter season for the restaurant company, which launched a new menu in October and opened a branch in Sheikh Zayed in November that gives it six locations in the Greater Cairo Area. Zooba opened its doors on 31 March 2012.
Pictured above: The light grayish building on the corner is the home of Zooba’s future flagship restaurant in Manhattan.