Bar Louie’s West Coast expansion began in earnest recently with two openings in the Los Angeles area. But that was just the start of a far-more ambitious plan, the company announced. In the next five years, the chain, which has more than 125 locations across 26 states and the District of Columbia, plans to debut in San Diego County, Los Angeles County, and key cities in Northern California.
Specifically, Bar Louis is charting a five-year plan that includes 59 locations and 4,000 new jobs under Robert Levyssohn, the director of real estate for the West. The two LA units, located in Northridge and Downey, were Bar Louie’s first West Coast outposts.
“Just like every different city in California from Eureka down to San Diego, each Bar Louie location has its own set of diverse characteristics and provides a unique atmosphere to its guests,” Levyssohn says in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what new experiences potential Bar Louie corporate locations and franchised locations will bring to their communities. Californians will soon come to love the $5 burgers on Tuesdays and Brews and Blues nights and the upcoming National Martini Day.”
Levyssohn already has an outline jotted down: San Diego can host up to eight stores; LA County and Orange County another 32. And while Southern California will be Bar Louie’s California hotbed, the company could land in Northern cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento. The growth will be a combination of corporate and franchised locations.
Bar Louie started in Chicago’s River North in 1991. It’s known for a four-revenue stream approach to dining—lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late night.
Back in 2014, Bar Louie executives told FSR the company planned to hit 200 units by 2018 and that sales had grown 13 percent to $131 million. There were just 80 units at the time. Earlier this month, the company announced Tony Wehner, a former executive at Logan’s Roadhouse, was stepping into the COO role at Bar Louie. Wehner also held leadership positions at Chili’s, Red Lobster, and On the Border.
Bar Louie is known for a vibrant atmosphere, sharable plates, and an extensive bar program that includes signature margaritas, cocktails, sangrias, martinis, and mojitos.