It seems that it’s never been easier to eat plant-based food than it is in today’s age. Even if you’re not looking to make the full commitment to go vegan or veggie, it’s always nice to have meat-free and vegan options at restaurants, and especially when you’re shopping at the mall. One restaurant in particular that’s shaking things up is NYC-based by CHLOE. with its goal to “redefine what it means to eat well.” In the fall of this year, by CHLOE. expanded to Canada and opened its first Canadian location at Yorkdale Shopping Centre right here in TO.
If you’re vegan and used to being stuck eating salads when you go out to eat, then the menu items at by CHLOE. will have you jumping up and down with plant-based excitement. Your choices here range from burgers and mac and cheese, to nachos and even poutine!
We caught up with by CHLOE.’s founder and creative director Samantha Wasser to find out how she got her job!
First things first, what’s the first job you ever had? How did that job lead you to where you are today?
I started my career in celebrity endorsements on behalf of large brands like Proctor & Gamble and Pepsi. I LOVED the teams I worked with and the nature of the job, but felt creatively unfulfilled as it was the brands’ ultimate call. To this day, I still work with many of my colleagues and contacts from that role, including our first beverage partner – PanaTea!
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
Every morning starts with my son Jamesy and my two dogs! From there, no day is the same, which is one of the reasons I love what I do! My days can start with a call to sort through upcoming campaigns or openings, a site visit to a store under construction right into meetings to review culinary innovation and tech initiatives! Lately, many of our US teams’ efforts have been heavily focused on our Toronto launch and I was lucky to spend a few days in this great city pre-opening. Seeing the space come together and meeting fans of the brand is always so humbling and exhilarating!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while opening a restaurant?
That I can’t be everywhere at once! While we expand and I unfortunately can’t physically be in 18 locations across 3 countries everyday, it’s important we keep open lines of communication with our team members who we lean on as our brand leaders! I try to empower our staff to be welcoming and personable with every guest that enters our doors.
What’s it been like expanding by CHLOE. to Canada?
I am so grateful to Toronto and our local teams who have welcomed us with open arms! Growing up in New York City, I never went to malls, so this experience has been a teenage dream! But really, one of our favorite projects has been collaborating with the Peace Collective! In preparing for our opening at Yorkdale, and introducing the brand in Canada, I KEPT seeing t-shirts that said “Toronto vs. Everybody” and knew we had to create magic together! I DMed Peace Collective on Instagram and the rest is history! I am so thrilled to sell our custom by CHLOE. is Toronto tees in store!
To what do you attribute by CHLOE.’s success?
Our goal from day one has been to offer delicious food that just so happens to be vegan, not the other way around, which has helped us reach a wide audience. Our stores are designed to be colorful, playful and welcoming. We’ve also created a unique Instagram experience and community that helps us extend far beyond the walls of our restaurants.
What do you look for when opening new locations?
We try to listen to our fans! We saw a large amount of our followers were based in Canada on social media, and with the growing vegan scene in Toronto, it felt like the perfect time to introduce by CHLOE.
What are your favourite items on the menu?
I love our Quinoa Taco Salad and of course The Guac Burger! I am a big fan of our exclusive items inspired by our different territories like the Fish & Chips in the UK and our Maple Bacon Cheezeburger in Toronto!
What advice do you have for folks who are looking to open their own restaurant?
Restaurants are tough so I would likely caution them on the challenges of the industry first, ha! After that I would say to always trust your gut and to always surround yourself with a loyal, passionate and hard working team. It’s not a punch in/punch out type of job, especially around an opening, which we consider our Superbowl! It’s important to find people you can trust and rely on in chaotic times and celebrate with during successes!
Why was opening a plant-based restaurant so important to you?
In my twenties, I naturally found myself eating less and less meat, but wouldn’t necessarily eat at vegan restaurants, as I didn’t feel like I belonged. When the opportunity to open a plant-based concept presented itself, I wanted to create a brand and experience that spoke to consumers like me! Our restaurants are designed to be approachable, comfortable and FUN. Vegan food was “scary” to some (including me!) but how scary can our classic take on Mac N’ Cheese be with phrases like “If you were a vegetable, you’d be a cutecumber” on our packaging?!
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Opening a new store in a new city! But day to day, I am most inspired by the work that goes into our creative campaigns. From that initial brainstorming to mood boards, prop styling, shoot days and the finished product, it’s amazing to see my vision come to life and resonate with our customers!
This summer we launched the Carrot Hot Dog by CHLOE. which featured Takerua Kobayashi, The World’s Greatest Competitive Eater. Our campaign was colorful, weird, playful, unique and delicious! All characteristics of by CHLOE.!
What’s a surprising fact about yourself?
I am a terrible cook!
Can you share what’s next for by CHLOE.?
We can’t wait to launch our second Canadian location in downtown Toronto Fall 2020! Stateside, we will see more expansion next year in NYC and beyond! We are also always in the kitchen working on new and exciting creations like our Chicky Collection that just launched in the US! Stay tuned Canada, we’re coming for you! Now that’s something to Cluck about =)
Who are your role models/mentors?
I admire so many young female entrepreneurs, many who I have been able to partner with along the way. A key role model for me is Sara Blakely of Spanx. Spanx is such an empowering brand and the empire Sara created is so inspiring for a young entrepreneur like myself.
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