The Asian-ish grab-and-go chain from the founder of Pret A Manger just landed in NYC. UK-based company Itsu — which, like Pret, has prepared foods to-go — has opened the doors on its first stateside location in Midtown, at 530 Seventh Ave. at West 39th Street.
The restaurant comes from Julian Metcalfe, the man behind the insane number of Prets across lunch hotspots in NYC, and offers items like sushi rolls, udon noodles, rice bowls, salads, and wraps. Options include standards like a salmon and avocado roll, a poached miso salmon salad, and a pork teriyaki udon bowl. The idea is that it’s a healthy, “good for you” lunch, with flavors inspired by various Asian cuisines, Metcalfe has said.
Metcalfe opened the first outpost of Itsu in London in 1997, and now, more than 70 locations the restaurant are scattered across the U.K. This is the first one in the United States. But if the more than 50 Prets in NYC is any signal, the Midtown Itsu may just be the first of many. Metcalfe has said that he plans to expand this restaurant here, as well.
It’s also not the first Asian fusion-type place from the U.K. to plop down in NYC: British company Wasabi has also come to the city, with a location in Midtown and others in transit spots like the Fulton Center and Penn Station. Like Itsu, Wasabi offers grab-and-go sushi and Asian-inspired food like salmon teriyaki salad and tofu curry bento boxes. Wagamama, a London-based ramen chain, has been expanding here too, but that’s more of a full-service restaurant than fast food spot.
Itsu is now open starting at 10 a.m. daily.
Correction: This post has been updated to note that Wasabi Sushi and Bento has several other NYC locations.