Here is the continuing list of America’s 40 upcoming fast-casual restaurants that have taken the restaurant industry by storm. Their chef-driven menus, premium hospitality, enhanced beverage programs, high-quality ingredients, and ambitions to serve the community have qualified them for the success that they have experienced. Let’s continue the list of these fast-growing fast-casual restaurants!
Burger Lounge was founded by Dean Loring with the ethos in mind of “doing a common thing uncommonly well.” This burger restaurant serves 100% grass-fed, American, small-farm beef, with a finish of organic and house-made ingredients. This restaurant currently has 22 locations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Inland Empire, Orange County, Bay Area, Sacramento, and Las Vegas.
Piada Italian Street Food
Piada Italian Street Food is an open kitchen restaurant that invites their customers to share an experiences as the chefs craft their meals to order. They serve Piadas (an Italian version of a burrito), pasta, and salads, with guests able to choose from a half-dozen proteins, a dozen sauces and dressings, and more than 20 toppings to create their own customized dish. They currently have 43 locations throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Indianapolis.
Bobby’s Burger Palace
Bobby’s Burger Palace was created by Bobby Flay, the famous chef personality from the Food Network. At Bobby’s Burger Palace they offer high-quality burgers, salads, shakes and signature chips. There are currently 17 locations in Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia.
Giardino Gourmet Salads
Ody and Kenny Lugo founded Giardino Gourmet Salads in 2004 to bring nutrient-dense foods to their community. They currently offer 65 fresh ingredients for their customers to their own salad, grain bowl, or wraps based on their own individual needs. Their first location was in South Florida and Giardino continues to spread through Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Nashville, and Tennessee.
The concept for Starbird was first created when the Culinary Edge created The Culinary Edge Ventures (TCEV). TCEV’s mission was to innovate and revolutionize the tired restaurant industry segments with purposeful and dynamic concepts. They have created a world where eating conveniently and healthily is not at odds, and where affordability never has to be associated with sacrifice. At Starbird, they offer “super premium” ingredients in its fried chicken-based sandwiches, wraps, salads, and breakfast. There are currently 4 locations in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Foster City, and Santa Clara.
Mad Greens was first created outside of Denver by two lifelong friends chefs, Dan Long and Marley Hodgson in 2004. They created their restaurant with the intent to address the lack of fresh, fast and healthy food to offer to their consumers. Mad Greens was a pioneer of the fast-casual salad and over the past 13 years, they have grown to be a leader in the region and category. They offer salads, grain bowls, wraps, juices, and soups. They currently have 34 locations in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and Utah.
Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill
Sahar Sander and Elan Burger founded Naf Naf (means ‘fan the flame’) in 2009 when they used their savings to open their restaurant in a former Taco Bell. In January Naf Naf Grill rebranded to Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill in an effort to emphasize the concept’s commitment to Middle Eastern cuisine. They offer generous servings of authentic, handmade dishes, like pillowy pita, crispy falafel, savory shawarma, and scratch-made signature sauces. They currently have 38 locations in Chicago, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio.
Fuku is a casual chicken concept by Momofuku that first opened in June of 2015. They originally started as a fried chicken sandwich joint and since then have grown to serve a variety of chicken and seasonal offerings, along with beer, slushies, and more. They currently have locations in the East Village, Financial District, Battery Park City, Midtown (Fuku+), Madison Square Garden, Citi Field, and Hard Rock Stadium.
Mulberry & Vine
Founder and CEO Michelle Gauthier is a clean-eating concept that pulls flavor inspiration from around the globe with a selection of bowls and plates, proteins and veggie dishes, and infused waters and turmeric lemonade. They also serve wine and beer on tap. They currently only have 3 locations all in New York.
Curry Up Now
Founded by Akash Kapoor, Curry Up Now offers Indian street food, tikka masala burritos, bowls, thai platters, as well as signature dishes like a deconstructed samosa. They take their traditional Indian flavors and present them in a recognizable way. They currently have 10 locations around San Francisco, including 4 food trucks.
Project Juice began as a personal ‘project’ to develop and deliver the highest quality plant-based foods and cold-pressed juices in a convenient and accessible form. In March 2015, Project Juice and Ritual Wellness joined forces to form the country’s leading certified organic cold-pressed juice and plant-powered food companies. Project Juice specializes in sourcing the best certified organic produce and features ingredients from local farms. They craft a wide selection of plant-based foods, premium cold-pressed juices, and superfood smoothies. They currently have locations in Northern and Southern California.
Brown Bag Seafood
Brown Bag Seafood Co, was created to bring responsibly sourced food, cooked on site, that is tasty and healthy. They are creating a niche in Chicago’s fast-casual scene with its fish options of a daily catch salmon, shrimp, and lobster. They also offer turf options like chicken and veggies. They currently have 4 locations around the Chicago area.
Flower Child was created to bring a clean-eating ideology to a fast-casual format. The menu is inspired by locations such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, and the Southwest U.S. Flower Child offers salads, whole-grain bowls, wraps, and soups. There are currently 8 locations spanning from California to Georgia. The brand is bound for continued growth.
Founders Arron and Lychelle Day first opened Blue Lemon in 2009 and their concept was to create delicious food that met the need for affordable, healthy meals, but in an eco-friendly way. Their food is responsibly sourced by having their chairs, boxes, cups, bags, and takeout utensils made of recycled materials. They currently have 6 locations in around the area of Utah.
By CHLOE is a vegan restaurant that has the aim to share wholesome, plant-based food that fuels and energizes without compromising flavor, taste, or satisfaction. Their chef-driven vegan menu features locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create inspired dishes, made 100% by them daily. They have collaborated with other up-and-comers like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer to offer vegan shakes and Mimi Cheng’s to offer vegan dumplings. They currently have 11 locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Rhode Island and London.