March 22, 2016

Aspiring CIA Student Entrepreneurs Pitch Off!

Fall 2016 CIA student entrepreneurs have pitched their restaurant concepts to earn a place in CIA's Innovation Kitchen.

CIA Student Entrepreneurs Develop Restaurant Concepts

The CIA’s Innovation Kitchen, part of the Student Commons, is home to a rotating fast-casual concept designed and managed by CIA students in our Intrapreneurship concentration. In the first semester of the program, the class divides into teams that develop and pitch concepts to a panel of judges. The winning team’s concept becomes the focus for the entire class as they progress to menu development (2nd semester) and then begin serving other CIA students (3rd semester). Fall 2016 teams are:


Travel around the world of barbeque with Charcoal. Featuring preparations from Mexico, Korea, the Philippines, India, Africa, and the Mediterranean, you’ll see barbecue through the eyes of the world. Diners have complete control to mix sauces and sides, creating a unique trip around the world with each visit.


Po’Boys on the Geaux (pronounced “go”). You’ll taste New Orleans in every bite from this Creole and Cajun flavored start up. Enjoy a classic fried shrimp po’boy or branch out with po’chette, catfish, roast beef, or other options and specials. Add a side or red beans and rice, Mardi Gras slaw, or collard greens and finish with our sweet bread pudding.


Not only does the name stand for Rice Company, but it also means delicious in Spanish. The menu features proteins prepared in a variety of styles and sauces reflective of the diverse cultural backgrounds of this all-female, student team. The menu features a lot of braises and stews, perfect for large batch production as many of our items develop more intense flavor over time. Select your rice, protein, toppings, and enjoy knowing that you’re also helping someone else—RICO plans to donate one pound of rice to a local food bank for every $20 in sales.

Meatball City

Stop in to Meatball City where “we get the ball rolling!” Step up to the counter and select your base—rice pilaf, soft herbed polenta, or sub roll. Next, choose your meatball—beef, chicken, or vegetable (mushroom-based) options will be our staples, but we want YOU to vote for upcoming specials each week. Add one of our four sauces and select a side—may we suggest our polenta fries?—to round out your meal. Join our High Rollers Club to earn points toward a free sub!

And the Winning Team is…

The judging panel was charged with evaluating all the student concepts just as any potential investor would. They listened carefully to the student pitches and asked careful questions about food cost, labor & training concerns, equipment needs, marketing styles, yield & value perceptions, and much more. After deliberation, it was announced that Meatball City will be opening in the Egg this fall! Congratulations, students!!

Meatball City earned the right to become the Fall 2016 CIA's Innovation Kitchen restaurant. CIA student entrepreneurs worked in teams to pitch multiple restaurant concepts, now they will work together as a class to offer a special global meatball-based menu at the CIA's student cafeteria.