Organic fast food restaurant coming to Rolling Meadows
Benjamin Brittsan and his wife, Nicolette, are like many young parents on the go.
They try to feed their children -- Sheridan, 14 months, and Jake, 4 -- the healthiest meals they can. Still, once in a while, they find themselves in the drive-through lane of a fast-food restaurant, picking up the same high-processed foods we all eat.
"Why isn't there something quick and easy that we can feel good about eating and feeding our kids?" said Benjamin.
The Brittsans, both chefs, decided to do it themselves.
The Glenview couple will open the prototype Nic's Organic Fast Food later this year at 2101 Plum Grove Road in Rolling Meadows.
After that they have an aggressive growth plan for a national chain and franchise with 50 locations in five years.
"We will be the first 100 percent certified organic, full-menu drive through restaurant in the nation," he said.
The menu is typical, but the hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and breakfast foods will all be certified as organic, from the beef to the lettuce.
"It's a very simple, straightforward menu. We're not trying to be pretentious, just organic," Brittsan said.
To have all its food certified as organic requires tracking where and how each ingredient was grown, what the animals were fed on the farm and making sure there were no GMOs, pesticides or other chemicals.
Brittsan said Nic's prices will be about 10 percent higher than a typical fast food restaurant. A "value meal" -- sandwich, fries and a drink -- would come in just under $8.
Nicolette and Ben grew up on the North Shore and met as students at the Cooking Hospitality Institute in Chicago. Both have been in the food industry for years and previously owned Benjamin Restaurant and Benjamin Tapas in Highland Park.
"Organic is a lifestyle for us," Brittsan said. "When it comes to eating organic food, you just feel better."
The Rolling Meadows restaurant is the prototype, Brittsan said, but they hope to open locations in Gurnee and Chicago next and then expand nationally.
Construction to transform the location from a former Pizza Hut into Nic's Organic Fast Food will start this week.
It will include adding barn siding and a grass roof to give the restaurant an "organic meets industrial" feel.
Brittsan said they plan to open in late summer, and have already gotten interest from potential customers and investors.
"I think we're on to something big," he said.