Love it or hate it, the fast casual / quick service / Chiptole-ization of pizza is here to stay. The novelty of lining up and specifying topping via a Chiptole / Subway / Pinkberry / Panera assembly line isn't wearing off... it's popping up across the country.
'fast casual' on Serious Eats
Fuddruckers recently debuted a spicy new offering: Hatch Chile Burgers, featuring a fresh, never frozen, beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese and grilled Hatch chiles. Judging from my experience, I hope your local Fuddruckers is more reliable than mine.
Denver-based fast casual chain Smashburger earned the number one spot in Forbes' list of America's 100 Most Promising Companies released last month. No other burger chain made the list. Forbes' feature on Smashburger mentions Smashburger's plans to open in the Middle East, Canada, the UK, East Asia, and South America.
There's been a lot of buzz around town surrounding the opening of Chipotle's new Southeast Asia-inspired ShopHouse, despite the company's best efforts to keep it under wraps. While it's still unclear as to why CEO Steve Ells would open the first (and only planned) location here in D.C., residents seem to be pretty pleased about it. I put my math-minded friend in charge of ordering to make sure we got every ingredient in every category in at least one bowl and banh mi.