It all started with a Mexican Caesar salad.
That’s what Tennessee Titan DeMarco Murray ordered at Chopt Creative Salad Co. in New York City. It was delicious, the restaurant was clean, efficient and healthy, and Murray knew he had to be a part of it.
“I was like, ‘Holy cow … we need one of these in Nashville,” Murray, a running back with the Titans, recounted in a phone interview. “I’ve never been that excited about a salad in my life.”
Murray soon found himself meeting with the team behind Chopt, who, it turned out, were already working on opening a Nashville-area location. The eatery opened its doors in Hill Center Brentwood earlier this month; today, the New York-based company announced Murray’s investment in the business. (Murray declined to share specifics of his investment.)
“DeMarco and I have spent a lot of time learning about each other and we’ve realized clear alignment in a few key areas: passion for community, a commitment to healthy living, and care for wellness.” Colin McCabe, Chopt’s co-founder, said in a news release. “The investment from DeMarco represents a vote of confidence for Chopt in Nashville and as we grow across the country. We are excited to work with DeMarco to pursue our shared vision in Nashville and beyond.”
Chopt is the first restaurant industry investment for Murray, who also recently teamed up with SeventySix Capital, a Philadelphia-based venture capital fund. In an interview Tuesday, he said he’s occasionally been approached by other restaurateurs, but felt strongly about how Chopt’s culture and approach fits with his passion for health and wellness.
“Chopt is just something I feel very adamant about and have a lot of belief in,” Murray said.
Murray, who came to Tennessee from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, isn’t the only Titan with an interest in broadening his horizons beyond the field. Asked what other Titan he might want to invest alongside, Murray mentioned Derrick Morgan, another active investorwhose advocacy for a plant-based diet was recently profiled by ESPN.
Founded in 2001, Chopt now has more than 50 locations in several states.
VIA NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL