Well, we were more than a month into 2018 and thus far, the Overbearing Avocado News front had been strangely silent. But all that changed last night when Brooklyn's all-avocado restaurant Avocaderia made an appearance on America's most pro-capitalism show that is also super fun to watch stoned: Shark Tank. We were due!
Season nine, episode 22 of ABC's Hunger Games-esque entrepreneurial showcase played host to young, adorably enthusiastic Avocaderia owner Alessandro Biggi, whose Italian accent was mentioned by the Sharks no less than five times. (This week's shark lineup included guest shark Rohan Oza, who is behind a bunch of big-name beverages such as Smart Water and Bai, as well as usual suspects Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner.)
Avocaderia is an all-avocado restaurant that currently operates out of at a food hall in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. (Well, it's not all-avocado; while the oppressively trendy alligator pear is featured in every dish at Avocaderia, it's not always front and center, sometimes serving as more of a background ingredient in smoothies and desserts.)
Biggi, who looks like a less quizzical version of Adrien Brody, came in seeking $300,000 for a 10 percent stake in the soon-to-be-chain, which is looking to immediately expand into a few more locations in New York and then eventually into other cities full of people who like to Instagram their health food, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, and even Texas.
Biggi acknowledged that the dishes are "designed to look as good as they taste"—industry-speak for "trust me, hardcore brunchers will firehose-blast their social media feeds with all of this highly on-trend avocado content."
But as easy as it is to sigh and roll one's eyes at the premise of Avocaderia, the food is, apparently, quite good.
Peep Mark's visage of barely bridled desire as he gazes upon Avocaderia's spread of avocado toast (two kinds), mango smoothie, and vegan chocolate mousse!
Lori found the avocado toast "very, very good," and Barbara said that the avocado toast "blew [her] away."
With Roberto Benigni-at-the-1999-Oscars level charm, Biggi recounted to the Sharks how he was born in Tuscany and became an investment banker and then a financial consultant in Seattle. While there, he realized that it was difficult to find healthy food that tasted good enough to eat every day.
And then: "I'm not the best chef out there," he said, "but I started making myself this avocado toast and I fell in love."
Alright, Biggi. We'll make you a deal.
Biggi hopes to open 20 locations of Avocaderia in the next five years—hopefully while taking into consideration that avocado shortages are a thing, and could worsen in the future—and said that he has received 50 requests for franchising since opening the restaurant last year. He has also secured a six-figure deal for a cookbook.
Oza, predicting a terminal level of avocado oversaturation, bailed because "The entire menu is avocado-based, so the moment I get a little avocado fatigued… I'm out." But Barbara and Mark, appreciating the singlemindedness of the business and it's commitment to doing one thing and doing it well—even if that thing is literally smashed avocado on bread—and put up $200,000 each for a total of $400,000 for 20 percent of the company. (Mark also hit the spread one more time post-deal.)
A highly stoked Biggi left the Tank feeling like he was "absolutely living the American dream with partners like this."
This is the American dream, folks: avocado toast for all.
There is some bad news for Biggi, though. Late last year, The Avocado Show—an Amsterdam-based restaurant that is also avocado-centered—announced that it, too, is seeking world domination, and has plans to expand into North America, Asia, and Australia after fully saturating the Europe market.
Will avocado toast go the way of the fancy cupcake and the poké bowl, rousing excitement and then quickly sliding into mediocre ubiquity? If you've been wondering whether the Great Avocado Mania of the 2010s will subside anytime soon, the answer is "probably not."