Fast Casual Concepts with Faster Growth Trajectories

QSR Magazine’s third annual 40/40 list spotlights the top fast casual 2.0 restaurants with under 40 units that are moving the needle. According to QSR, fast casual 2.0 is an “explosive industry category that bridges the gap between traditional fast-casual and casual-dining sectors.”

With that in mind, here are the top 7 fast casual 2.0 restaurants in New York City that are poised for significant growth in this blossoming sector.

Milk Bar
The playful and vibrant dessert combinations of Christina Tosi has led Milk Bar to spin off into successful locations across the country. From New York to Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Tosi’s concept has garnered a strong following since she started the first specialty bakery within David Chang’s Momofuku. Milk Bar has 17 units and has plans to expand.

Beyond Sushi
After a very successful Shark Tank appearance and the first vegan restaurant to ever pitch on the show, Beyond Sushi received a $1.5 million investment from Miami Dolphin’s chairman and restaurant investor Matt Higgins to grow the brand. Focusing on vegan sushi, dumplings, noodle bowls, and wraps, the chain now runs about $2 million average-unit volume and plans to add four stores in New York City by 2020.

Go! Go! Curry
In the U.S., Japanese curry is still a largely undiscovered dish. Not for long. Go! Go! Curry is changing that with its Pork Katsu Curry. Made with deep-fried pork cutlets, shredded cabbage and short-grain rice, it’s a must-try. Its name is derived from the pronunciation of the number five in Japanese, which happens to mirror legendary baseball player Hideki Matsui who comes from the same region. They look to expand to 55 units from seven by 2022.

Glaze Teriyaki
Glaze’s make-your-own bowls are a huge hit. The difference might be freshness. Glaze’s sustainable salmon bowls are made exclusively with fish that arrives fresh every morning. One of these bowls includes the Ora King Salmon used by many Michelin-star restaurants. Glaze is expanding across the country, delivering a fresh teriyaki concept at an affordable price.

Just Salad
Launched in 2006, their health-conscious menu has expanded to showcase smoothies, grain bowls, soups and wraps. What Just Salad is known for is its ‘10 Items Under $10′ menu and its focus on sustainability. Its reusable bowl initiative has reduced more than 75,000 pounds of plastic each year.

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
Co-founder and co-owner Francis Garcia wants to see “an Artichoke everywhere in the world.” The New York-style thick-crust slices and pies have grown to 12 units since their flagship opening in 2008. Their signature Artichoke slice is a crowd pleaser, with artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, and cheese.

The Hummus & Pita Co.
Founded in 2011 by Janice Axelrod, this Mediterranean chain is eyeing a triple-digit unit count. It made a splash when it introduced its Dessert Hummus and Hummus Shake. Hummus & Pita Co. opened its first location in New Jersey in November 2018 and looks to expand in Colorado, Tennessee, California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, and beyond.