Chef and founder Andrew Gruel set out to reinvent the casual dining approach to quality seafood when he first launched his Los Angeles food truck in 2011. Five years later, Slapfish has expanded from a Huntington Beach bricks-and-mortar "shack" to six California outposts and major nationwide ambitions.
Las Vegas will part of the first wave, with franchise development company Fransmart leading the way into Nevada. Already a power behind Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba’s rapid rise, locally they have imported The Halal Guys and the now-shuttered Bowl of Heaven. Fransmart will also be moving Slapfish into Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
A location or arrival timetable for Las Vegas has yet to be announced, although Gruel has made a point of including airports in the 50 locations planned for the six states.
Promising "no white tablecloths or fancy silverware," the menu features "fresh sustainable seafood" and a "healthy smack of gourmet irreverence." Lobster grinders, a hake fish taco, oysters and "shrimp pops" join stand-out favorites like the "lobsticle," a "half of a pan-grilled lobster tail topped with chipotle aioli, champagne vinaigrette and fresh chives, served on a skewer" and their "Chowder Fries," created with seasoned fries topped with bacon, chowder and lemon juice.
Fransmart has also entered into an agreement to revive the long dormant Naugles casual Mexican chain. Starting with launching 100 locations nationwide over the next five years, Naugles will slot into drive-thru restaurants and "food halls." A rival to Del Taco, the Naugles name was last seen in Las Vegas in the mid-nineties, before a merger with Del Taco closed out the brand.