Huelva, Spain-based 100 Montaditos, a chain whose menu features 100 versions of the popular small Spanish sandwich called the Montadito, is expanding its presence in the New York area through its first U.S. franchise relationship.

Real estate firms Crown Acquisitions, which owns commercial buildings, and Naftali Group, a residential developer, formed a joint venture called Mini Hospitality, which has exclusive franchise rights in New York. The group plans to develop 28 restaurants in the next 3 years in the metro area. These will be in addition to the first New York City location opened last year on Bleecker Street and a second on Ludlow Street, slated to open this summer. The initial goal is to have five locations open by the end of 2014, according to the company.

The 100 Montaditos concept is inspired by early 19th century Spanish taverns, which were known for offering a combination of comfort and quick, personalized service. Average unit size is 1,500 square feet plus a 500-square-foot outdoor seating area. Designed to "stimulate communal interaction and offer guests a lively atmosphere," the restaurants feature hardwood or tile floors, granite countertops and tables, mood lighting, and authentic old black-and-white images from Spain.

With presence currently in Virginia and Maryland, the 100 Montaditos brand will open additional stores in those markets, as well as expand to new territories including Washington, D.C., and Texas. The company operates more than 300 franchised restaurants in Spain, United States, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Portugal and Italy. It plans to have 500 restaurants open worldwide by the end of 2014.