Chipotle has had a bad couple of years. Health and sourcing issues have caused the company to stumble through controversy after controversy. Sales are way down, with people feeling generally less trusting of the Tex-Mex fast casual joint. After a year with plenty of fires to put out (including the middling queso reviews), CEO Steve Ellis shared plans to step down earlier this week.
This raises an interesting question: What fast casual joints are poised to go nationwide and win the public’s love the way Chipotle once did? Usual suspects are easy to find, but Chipotle was a breakout star. So that’s what we looked for: Restaurants on the cusp.
We picked our favorite fast casual micro-chains from various regions in hopes that one day soon they’ll be slinging their delicious food from sea to shining sea.
Tocabe is the first Native American chain restaurant in America. They currently operate two locations in the Denver area and are helping lead the charge to reintroduce the foods of North America to the world. The menu focuses on the ever-expanding resurgence of Indigenous American cuisine with a focus on native foods (think motley corns, beans, gourds) and underutilized proteins like bison and rabbit.
Their “Indian Tacos” and “Posu Bowls” have the same “pick your meats, pick your toppings” vibe that Chipotle pushed into the mainstream. Plus the food is spectacular.
Best Dish: Bison Ribs.