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Rising Roll Café opens store on UT campus

KNOXVILLE – Rising Roll Café has come to Knoxville. The Atlanta-based gourmet sandwich concept, once named the “nation’s best for a sandwich” by USA Today, has opened a new store on the University of Tennessee campus.

The store is owned and operated by food service provider Aramark. Aramark is a food service provider that already creates custom dining experiences for millions of college consumers every day on 500 campuses across the U.S. and Canada.

According to Rising Roll Café CEO Mike Lassiter, the University of Tennessee store is the first of 2-3 locations the company hopes to open in the Knoxville area over the next few years. The expansion will be conducted via franchising and will target more traditional retail locations.

“We are excited to bring the first Rising Roll Café to Tennessee,” said Lassiter. “While the new store will no doubt be a great addition to the UT dining program and provide a variety of high quality meal options for students, faculty and staff, we look forward to introducing our fresh gourmet food to a much broader customer base over the next few years.”

Founded in 1999 and franchising since 2003, Rising Roll Café offers a large variety of dining options made in-house, every day, from the freshest ingredients. The menu has about 50 choices (traditional stores) and approximately 20 choices (non-traditional stores) broken down into multiple categories: gourmet sandwiches, hot sandwiches, wraps, salads, and breakfast. There are gluten-reduced and under-400 calorie options, as well as Super Foods including Acai bowls, Avocado toast, and hummus wraps.

Some signature choices include: Signature sandwiches include selections such as Chicken Salad and Apples; Chicken Milano, featuring house-made chicken salad, mozzarella, cheddar, roasted red peppers and fresh basil on Tandoori bread; Turkey & Brie with apples and Dijon aioli; Portabella & Roasted Red Pepper Vegan Wrap with grilled asparagus and sautéed onion; Turkey & Pear with goat cheese, romaine lettuce and sweet chili sauce; and Firecracker Roast Beef Wrap with roasted red peppers, pepper jack cheese, Firecracker Sauce and lettuce.

“Expansion in areas outside of our Atlanta hub is an integral part of our growth plan,” said Lassiter. “Our expansion into Knoxville will be another step in making Rising Roll a household name; not just in Tennessee, but throughout the Southern United States and beyond.”

Today, Rising Roll Café has 20 stores open and operating in five states, the vast majority of which are located in non-traditional venues such as university campuses, medical centers and Class A office buildings.

Including a franchise fee of $30,000, the initial investment to open a Rising Roll Café franchise is around $275,000 to $425,000. A typical restaurant occupies 2,000-2,400 square feet of retail space, seats approximately 50 customers and employs about 10 people.

Founded in 1999 and franchising since 2003, Rising Roll is a gourmet sandwich concept in the multi-billion dollar fast-casual restaurant segment. The menu currently boasts approximately 50 choices (traditional stores) and approximately 20 choices (non-traditional stores) broken down into six categories: gourmet sandwiches, hot sandwiches, wraps, salads, breakfast and healthier alternatives. Today, there are 20 locations open and operating in five states. For more information, please visit

Published January 14, 2018

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