PHOTOS: Five National Fast-Casual Restaurants That Started in DC

If you’re a D.C. resident visiting another state, you may recognize some of these spots.

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1/5
Cava Grill
Started by three childhood friends, Cava Grill blends Greek and Mediterranean cooking with a Chipotle-style, customer-driven dining experience. Walk down the line and select a base, toppings, protein, dressing and more. Cava’s healthy and environmentally-conscious items “do have a big impact when consumers are deciding between restaurants,” Hollinger said.
2/5
Taylor Gourmet
Select a chef-prepared salad or sandwich or create your own at Taylor Gourmet, a DMV-based sandwich shop that’s set to open a new location in Chicago. “I think that with some of the other fast-casuals that were born at that time, we were all kind of at the right place at the right time,” a publicist for Taylor Gourmet said.
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Reema Desai
Beefsteak, founded by chef Jose Andrés, is all about vegetables. Beefsteak marks Andres’, who also runs higher end restaurants like Zaytinya and Jaleo, first foray into the fast-casual space. Guests pick from an area of fresh vegetables, with the option to add protein to their bowl.
4/5
Sweetgreen
Order a seasonal dish or make your own, featuring delicacies like quinoa, organic arugula, shredded kale, hummus and more. Sweetgreen, founded by Georgetown graduates, prides itself on locally-sourced produce, so expect a change in menu by season and location. "We recognized that in order to succeed in D.C., we needed to tap into the community, to create a truly meaningful relationship with each neighborhood and with each customer, and that mentality of building human connections is what has enabled us to grow into a national brand," co-founder Jonathan Neman said.
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&pizza
&pizza’s founders specifically chose D.C. to start their business. They opened their first shop on H Street and now have 22 restaurants in the DMV, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Customers can pick from a menu of chef-created items or design your own pizza, selecting from an array of dough, sauce, cheese and toppings. "We decided on D.C. because we saw the explosive growth of the food scene here--one that we've watched grow into the country's most important fast casual innovation hub," said CEO and co-founder Michael Lastoria.
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