restaurant concepts

Restaurant concepts to watch for April

By Aaron Jourden

In this edition of “concepts to watch,” we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique:

Una Pizza + Wine

Instagram: 15,000 followers | Facebook: 2,712 likes | Twitter: 13,000 followers
Locations: 3 (Calgary, Saskatoon)

Concept characteristics:

  • Casual-dining concept with a focus on California-style pizzas and Mediterranean fare
  • Positioned around quality ingredients, elevated dishes and a curated wine list with a range of price points
  • Strives to be an anchor of the neighborhood and to minimize its impact on the environment
  • Spinoff limited-service concept offers pizzas, salads and light fare for grab-and-go, takeaway and delivery

Menu snapshot:

  • Pizza—variety of house specialties available with toppings that include double-smoked bacon, fennel sausage, jalapeno oil, sun-dried tomato puree and local honey
  • Not Pizza—snacks and main dishes such as pan-roasted chicken wings, tagliatelle pasta, roasted cauliflower with brown butter and seared octopus
  • Salads—choices include Mediterranean, mixed greens and kale Caesar
  • Desserts—whipped cheesecake, key lime pie and churro pie

Jusu Bar

Instagram: 6,529 followers | Facebook: 7,916 likes
Locations: 11 (Alberta, British Columbia)

Concept characteristics:

  • A sleek, health-focused quick-service chain offering juices, meals and snacks
  • Accommodating to a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences
  • The lifestyle brand extends to include Jusu Body pulp-infused skin and body care products
  • Donates extra food and drinks to local shelters, schools and food banks

Menu snapshot:

  • Drinks—cold-pressed green juices, nut milks and infused waters, with cleanse packages available
  • Meals—sushi wrap, chicken cranberry sandwich, harissa quinoa salad, avocado toast and power bowl
  • Snacks—vegetables with hummus, turmeric chi cup and cashew dip
  • Dessert—gluten-free ginger cookies and mini cheesecake sandwiches

Pho Hoa

Instagram: 726 followers | Facebook: 1,102 likes | Twitter: 353 followers
Locations: 5 (British Columbia)

Concept characteristics:

  • American chain of fast-casual Vietnamese noodle soup shops with a global presence
  • Aims to differentiate with culinary authenticity and consistency
  • Menu positioned as a healthier take on traditional pho
  • Units can be co-branded with sister concept Jazen Tea

Menu snapshot:

  • Pho—signature offering featuring broth, vegetables, noodles and herbs available in versions with beef, poultry and as a vegetarian dish
  • Rice Plates—jasmine rice, pickled vegetables and house marinades with toppings such as grilled lemon grass pork chop, grilled chicken and sweet chili salmon
  • Vermicelli Bowls—prepared with rice noodles, broth, vegetables and herbs
  • Small Bites—summer rolls with shrimp and pork, fried rolls with minced pork and tofu rolls

About the author:

Aaron Jourden is the managing editor – global & distribution at Chicago-based Technomic Inc., a Winsight company. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. For more information visit