Giada De Laurentiis Considers Opening More Fast-Casual Concepts
Giada De Laurentiis restaurant empire is gradually growing—and diversifying.
Pronto by Giada, which officially opened earlier this year at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, joined Giada at the Cromwell as the celebrity chef's second restaurant in the city, but it also marked a first for the celebrity chef: her debut in the fast-casual game.
At Pronto, diners can purchase contorni, gelato, salads, sandwiches, pasta, baked goods, and more pre-made items, all at a significantly lower price point than her upscale flagship, to take away or eat in the space. (There's also a wine bar component, as well as an adjacent Giada merch store, of course.) The experience of opening a more casual spot has De Laurentiis considering whether she might try opening similar concepts, elsewhere.
"I would be so lucky to open more fast-causal, as well as fine-dining, locations," she tells Food & Wine, when asked whether she's caught the fast-casual bug. "As for additional locations of Pronto, I first want to see how the Pronto at Caesars Palace does before expanding."
De Laurentiis already has a fair amount going on this this year. Her first East Coast restaurant, GDL Italian by Giada, is set to open in mid-April at the Horseshoe Casino, reported the Baltimore Sun. The new trattoria-inspired spot, which will seat 180 guests, will be seafood-focused and feel uniquely Baltimore.
Should she decide to open more fast-casual spots, she'll be armed with the lessons she learned opening Pronto, she says.
"I've learned just how important the flow of a grab-and-go line is," De Laurentiis says. "It needs to be set up in a way that makes sense to both the guests and the staff. It needs to be easy for the guest to maneuver. It has taken a bit of trial and error, but I'm happy to report, I think we are there."
Her favorite item at Pronto, we imagine, would make appearances at any other lunch spots in her future: the lemon grilled cheese.
"It gives the illusion of being much lighter than a regular grilled cheese," she says. "But it is just as decadent."