Naf Naf Grill Named 2016 Hot Concept Winner by Nation’s Restaurant News

Feeling the `Naf Love’, Judges Recognize Fast Casual Brand for Robust
Growth & Fresh Concept

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It’s official: Naf
Naf Grill
is a hot, trend-setting brand. The fast-casual brand,
known as the premier destination for authentic Middle Eastern food, was
named a 2016 Hot Concepts winner by Nation’s Restaurant News
(NRN), a leading trade publication covering the U.S. restaurant industry.

Known as one of the industry’s most prestigious award programs for the
past 22 years, Hot
recognizes forward-thinking brands at the leading edge of
food service that are positioned for significant growth. NRN’s judges
choose five winners who represent “trend setting brands that appeal to
the changing consumer.”

“We are humbled that Nation’s Restaurant News bestowed us this
honor,” said co-CEO Sahar Sander. “We started with one location in a
run-down former Taco Bell hut in the suburbs of Chicago, and now Naf Naf
Grill is recognized on a national level. We will never forget our roots
as we grow. Remembering how we started keeps us grounded.”

Based in Chicago, the fast-casual restaurant offers high quality, fresh
and authentic ingredients. Customers have the choice of homemade falafel
or slow roasted steak and chicken shawarma in either a pita sandwich or
bowl of basmati rice, romaine lettuce, couscous or hummus. They may
customize their selection with a delicious array of freshly prepared
salads and sauces, all original recipes developed by Sander.

“During this time of exponential growth, we remained focused on
upholding our company values by spreading the `Naf Love’ to customers
and employees in every new market,” said David Sloan, co-CEO. “Being
named a Hot Concept by NRN validates our commitment to understanding
what customers want and maintaining quality food and service.”

The “Naf Love” is a term the restaurant uses to describe the love and
passion it pours into its food, customers and employees. It is the
driving force behind the booming success of Naf Naf Grill. By taking the
time to slow-cook shawarma and bake fresh pita each day, while making
fries and salads with only the best ingredients, Naf Naf Grill has
become the standard bearer for Middle Eastern cuisine in the United

In early 2015, Naf Naf Grill received a growth-equity investment from
Roark Capital Group. The brand is growing at an exponential pace, with
plans to expand in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin,
Michigan and Minnesota. By early 2017, Naf Naf Grill will have a
presence in six states and 31 locations.

Criteria for the Hot Concepts Award, selected by the NRN’s editorial
team, include being a standout restaurant with proven success in either
three markets or among five units. Expansion beyond the first unit must
have been launched in the past seven years or fewer and the concept also
must exhibit good financial standing for their growth stage. The winners
will be celebrated at a MUFSO conference tasting event on Oct. 23 at the
Hyatt Regency Reunion in Dallas.

About Naf Naf Grill

Naf Naf Grill was founded in 2009 by Sahar Sander, David Sloan, Elan
Burger and Justin Halpenny and is the premium destination for fresh,
authentic Middle Eastern food. Oven baked pitas, hand cut salads and
freshly prepared sauces all serve as an accompaniment to award-winning
shawarma and falafel. Naf Naf Grill is a fast casual format with 19
units open and dozens more under development in New Jersey, Michigan,
Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Naf Naf Grill has received
industry acclaim, being named a 2016 Hot Concept by Nation’s
Restaurant News
and One to Watch by QSR Magazine. It has also
received acclaim in its home market of Chicago with the Chicago
naming its chicken shawarma one of the Top-10 dishes of
2013. From the most humble of beginnings to a high-growth restaurant
company in a few years, the company is guided by an idea they now fondly
call “The Naf Love.” For more information, please visit


Fishman PR
Debra Vilchis, 847-945-1300