New York’s Tasti-D-Lite Plots Low-Calorie D.C. Invasion
Add another name to the ever-expanding list of New York brands (Carmine's, P.J. Clarke's, Shake Shack, Luke's Lobster, among others) now taking root in the District. Low-calorie frozen dessert chain Tasti-D-Lite, seen on virtually every Big Apple street corner, is opening its first D.C. location next month in Dupont Circle. Expect a second location later this fall in Columbia Heights, as the franchise looks to set up some 25 new shops in Maryland, D.C. and Delaware over the next decade.
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TASTI D-LITE TO OPEN FIRST D.C. LOCATIONS
(Washington, D.C.)—In September Tasti D-Lite, the lower-calorie frozen dessert chain with a cult following among health-conscious consumers as well as celebrities, will open its first D.C. outpost off Dupont Circle at 2029 NW P Street. A second location will open in the fall in Columbia Heights at 3100 14th Street NW. These locations will join the area’s first center that opened in May in Severna Park, Md. The three centers are the first of at least 25 Tasti D-Lites expected to open in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Delaware over the next 10 years.
Annapolis resident and area businessman Greg Karanzalis, 28, is one of the entrepreneurs behind the two new Tasti D-Lite centers in D.C. Karanzalis is joined in the business venture by old friend Tom O’Leary, who is the owner of four Chevys Fresh Mex restaurants.
“Tom is an experienced restaurateur and he was introduced to Jim Amos, CEO of Tasti D-Lite, through the franchise community,” said Karanzalis. “While we weren’t actively looking to open a frozen dessert franchise, we recognized the potential opportunity in getting in on the ground floor of this fast-growing concept and wanted to be the first to bring Tasti D-Lite to D.C.”
Karanzalis and his team spent many months looking for the perfect sites for their first two locations.
“We couldn’t be happier with the sites we chose,” said Karanzalis. “Dupont Circle will provide a great mix of customers from area businesses as well as local residents and tourists and the Columbia Heights retail scene is very strong right now. Tasti
D-Lite’s great taste, amazing flavor variety and healthier nutritional profile are completely unique in the frozen dessert market and make it the perfect anytime treat for shoppers and residents.”
Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite’s popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of raving fans who line up day and night to get their favorite guilt-free treat, available in more than 100 flavors. With Tasti D-Lite, health-conscious individuals can enjoy a dessert that is made with natural ingredients including real dairy, contains no artificial sweeteners and is lower in calories, carbs and sugar than ice cream and leading frozen yogurt brands. Thanks to unsolicited international exposure on TV shows such as “30 Rock,” “Sex and the City” and “The Apprentice” along with new store openings, demand for the brand has grown worldwide. Tasti D-Lite is now poised for growth throughout the U.S. and around the world with plans to build a global 500-center franchise network through a combination of single- and multi-unit franchises, area developers and international master franchises.
“There are so many D.C. transplants from New York and business people who travel regularly between the two cities who know and love Tasti D-Lite,” said Jim Amos, Tasti D-Lite’s chairman and CEO. “On top of that, the dynamics of these first two D.C. centers are similar to those of some of our most successful Manhattan centers in that they’re high walking traffic areas. We think Tom and Greg have chosen fantastic locations and we’re confident that their combination of restaurant and real estate experience will help them to be successful. We’re excited to be introducing Tasti D-Lite to our nation’s capital and serving Tasti’s healthier treats in this busy metropolitan area.”
Tasti D-Lite first launched its franchise program in 2008. Since then, the company has grown to 60 locations and has secured commitments to open over 300 additional locations in the coming years. Tasti D-Lite currently has stores open in twelve states. Internationally, the company already has locations in Mexico and the United Arab Emirates and will be opening units in Australia and Panama in 2011. Led by a world-class operating team, the company is undertaking a program of product innovation, customer engagement and service excellence.