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Press Releases Press Archive Press Kit


Uno Chicago Grill Brings Beverages to the Forefront

BOSTON (June 8, 2004) - According to Business Week Online the casual dining industry is seeing a bolster in growth and profitability due to an improving economy and a long-term trend toward dining out driven by disposable-income growth. As restaurants begin to rebound, drama drinks such as the Strawberry Mojito and the Iguana Margarita, part of Uno Chicago Grill's revamped drink menu, have moved the casual dining experience into a new realm.

"People have grown beyond fast food and are looking to full-service restaurants like Uno Chicago Grill as mini-escapes." Chris Gatto, VP of Food and Beverage for Uno Chicago Grill. "They expect offerings beyond the basic burger and fries, and a widened alcoholic beverage selection. We have expanded our drink menu to answer this demand and help increase our customer base throughout the country."

According to an online nightclub and bar magazine, sales of flavored vodkas grew almost 20 percent last year, which the column attributed to the growing popularity of pop-culture television shows, nearly doubling the growth rate of all other categories of distilled spirits. Uno Chicago Grill is responding to this boom in cocktail consumption by providing an exciting and innovative drink menu that emulates and enhances this growing trend in responsible alcohol consumption, "We have strengthened our concentration on our liquid refreshments by focusing on a more adventurous customer in. Already, we have seen an increase in our premium flavored Vodkas sales and resurgence in nontraditional martinis, like the Hot Tub Martini and Ultimate White Russian. When drinks like the Appletini go mainstream, thanks to Sex in the City, we're on top of it with our own version," said Gatto.

To demystify the wine selection process, Uno Chicago Grill has developed a user-friendly wine list, placing wines in a progression from light and fruity to full-bodied and dry. The menu corresponds to the wine list so diners can readily pair wine with food. "This progressive approach makes it easier for servers and bartenders to make recommendations," Gatto added. Uno offers three whites, four reds and one blush, and constantly tweaks its selections based on customer demand.

Noting the rising interest in light and low carb beers, Uno is on top of that as well. According to Gatto, Michelob Ultra is a leader in this segment. In order to ensure consistent quality and freshness, the restaurant chain has pared their beer menu down to 25, based on popularity. Domestic beers are still the most popular, but imports are not far behind. One of the few casual dining restaurants with a proprietary brew, Uno Amber Ale, brewed by Sam Adams is featured. Each restaurant also offers select drafts from their local market. In addition, Uno Chicago Grill has their own brew pub in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

CONTACT: Dan Wheeler

Based in Boston, Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp. currently has a system of over 200 company-owned and franchise full service units. Uno Chicago Grill restaurants are located in 34 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The company also operates a consumer foods division, which supplies airlines, movie theaters, hotel restaurants and supermarkets with both frozen and refrigerated private label foods and branded Uno products. In 2003, Uno Chicago Grill was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as the #1 franchise opportunity in their category. The company also was selected by Franchise Times as one of the top 20 companies to watch in 2003. For more information, visit

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