Business 2.0: Meet and Eat
Spiro Baltas took stock of the restaurant scene and found something missing: a place to get slow-braised ribs with high-speed wireless. So in July 2004 he launched Starwich, a restaurant chain designed for businesspeople, with conference tables, free Wi-Fi, copy machines, and duck confit sandwiches with garlic-pommery mustard dressing. A veteran of Sbarro Pizza and Tavern on the Green, Baltas crafted a menu befitting an upscale lunch joint but kept the price of most items below $13. With four New York locations, Baltas plans to open two in Boston and four more in Manhattan before franchising his "fast casual" concept. Paul Barron, publisher of Fast Casual magazine, says revenues for the category should hit $70 billion in 2006.