Creating Culinary Communities (C3) built its business on ghost kitchens, but it is now moving toward a hybrid model that features ghost kitchens feeding brick-and-mortar retail locations.

C3 on Wednesday announced the launch of Citizens, a so-called “lifestyle food hall.” Citizens will first open in New York City and Atlanta in partnerships with Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties, respectively.

“We spent the last year expanding our delivery-only concepts and closed out 2020 with close to 200 digital kitchens, 15 brands, 1,200 employees and 1.1 million meals served,” said Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of C3. “Now with Citizens, we’re bringing our brands into the experiential space, partnering with Brookfield Properties and Simon to open within two of the most highly anticipated developments in the country.”

Citizens will feature food from C3’s portfolio of ghost kitchens, including brands Krispy Rice, EllaMia and Sam’s Crispy Chicken. Each Citizens location will offer pickup and meal delivery via the recently launched Citizens Go app, which allows customers to group menu items from multiple C3 restaurants into a single order.

The first location will be in New York City. The 40,000-square-foot location will open at Manhattan West in July. It will be a two-floor location with nine separate food kiosks. Described by C3 as “a true day-to-night destination,” the location will feature a boutique wine shop with interactive classes for guests, an EllaMia café, and a central bar serving pastries during the day and craft cocktails in the evening.

Katsuya will offer a contemporary take on traditional Japanese dishes crafted by Chef Katsuya Uechi, while another, Casa Dani, will be a Mediterranean dining concept with Spanish flare developed in collaboration with three-Michelin star Chef Dani García. The location will also feature brands such as S Bar, Umami Burger, Krispy Rice and more.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Citizens’ elevated culinary concepts to Manhattan West, introducing New Yorkers and visitors not only to a brand-new dynamic neighborhood, but a new way of thinking about fast casual dining revolutionized by the team at C3,” said Jason Maurer, senior vice president of retail leasing at Brookfield Properties.

Opening in 2022, Citizens Atlanta at Phipps Plaza will be a 24,000-square-foot hall located in the city’s Buckhead neighborhood offering sit-down, pickup and local meal delivery. Specific brands for the Atlanta location have not been announced yet.

“Citizens Atlanta is redefining what it means to dine in the retail space, transforming food and beverage from an afterthought to the main attraction,” said Patrick Peterman, senior vice president of development at Simon Property Group. “We’ve been supporters of C3’s vision from the very beginning, and we’re looking forward to bringing the brand’s collection of world-class culinary concepts together under one roof.”

Simon is a minority investor in C3.

“Atlanta and New York are dynamic, culinary-centric cities whose restaurant industries have significantly suffered this past year. With Citizens, we aim to bring fresh energy, variety and employment opportunities to these culinary spaces at a time when diners are beginning to look forward to immersive, in-person dining experiences again,” Nazarian said.

Additional Citizens locations are planned for Seattle, Miami and California.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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