Rice bowls, pita bread and a lot of toppings — along with a $36 million investment — helped one UT alumnus earn a spot on this year’s 30 Under 30 list from Forbes.
Dominik Stein, the cofounder of VERTS Mediterranean Grill, is the latest Longhorn to be included on the list of influential innovators. He’s featured among the recipients in the Food and Drink category for “redefining the way we eat, drink and think about food.”
The concept behind VERTS will feel familiar to anyone who has eaten at a Chipotle. But instead of building a burrito, diners pick toppings and customize popular Mediterranean food.
Stein, who graduated from UT with both a bachelor of arts and master of business administration, cofounded VERTS with Michael Heyne, who also studied at UT. After meeting in 2008, Stein and Heyne quickly realized Texas lacked döner kebaps, a type of sandwich popular in their native Germany.
As part of a dual MBA degree program between the McCombs School of Business and their German university, they began talking with professors and laying the groundwork for what is now VERTS Mediterranean Grill — a fast casual chain with 36 locations across the U.S. and $36 million in investment capital.
In the last few years, VERTS has opened more than 20 restaurants across Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Last year, Restaurant Business ranked VERTS No. 9 on its list of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Fast Casual restaurants, and VERTS was included on the Fast Casual Top 100 list in 2015.
If you haven’t yet eaten at VERTS, you may soon get the chance — in the next year, VERTS plans to open locations on the East Coast, including in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
- McCombs Today — From Classmates to Business Partners: World’s Smallest Food Truck
- The Daily Texan — Berlin-inspired restaurant serves up messy kebaps
- Texas MBA Insider — Pair Of German MBA Alumni Proving Bigger May Not Always Be Better