86. Go Roma,
Last year: 54
It’s not often that one can enjoy
traditional Italian cuisine for $10.99
or less, but that is the highest price to
be found on Go Roma’s comfort-food
menu. Selected by Nation’s Restaurant
News as a 2007 “Hot Concept,” the
brand has eight units, all but one of
which are in Illinois.
87. Mama Fu’s Asian House, Atlanta
Noodles & Company’s Whole Grain Tuscan Fettuccini with Chicken Asian/Asian fusion • Last year:
unranked, 2006: 64
81. Fatburger, Santa Monica, Calif. 85. New York Burger Co., New York City In 2008 Murphy Adams Restaurant
Burger/steak/BBQ • Last year: 66 Burger/steak/BBQ • Last year: unranked Group acquired the Mama Fu’s Asian House
Fatburger expanded into Western Canada, Opened in 2004, this chain has made a concept from Raving Brands, began delivery
Nebraska and Miami as part of a plan to open mission of offering traditional burger, fry and service and online ordering at select locations
20 to 30 new stores in 2008. It also announced onion ring cuisine without the typical quick- and launched a new redesigned logo, menu
a new green program to move toward the serve atmosphere. The company, whose menu and interior décor package to reposition
use of recycled materials as opposed to foam. has been called an inspiration to the burger the brand for further success. The group
Fatburger opened a location in Chase Field, industry, launched its franchising program will begin selling franchise agreements in
the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, that late last year. December 2008.
helped increased awareness of the brand.
82. Grand Traverse Pie Company, The Top Movers & Shakers in the Dessert/Beverage/Yogurt Category
Traverse City, Mich.
Bakery/café • Last year: unranked Sweet 16
Grand Traverse Pie Company was recognized
as one of the “Michigan 50 Companies To hile these “Sweet 16” brands set themselves apart in the dessert/beverage/yogurt
Watch,” an awards program sponsored by category, they don’t meet all the criteria of a fast casual restaurant. This list notes
the nonprofit Edward Lowe Foundation. In the concepts that stand out for their quality products, as well as for an upscale
2008 GTPC had $12 million in gross sales, an dining experience. With most of them being new mentions in the Top 100 issue, this category
economic impact of more than $25 million in increasingly is attracting more attention.
Michigan, and employed 400 people. These brands, listed alphabetically rather than by rank, do more than hand a soft-serve
cone through a window. They draw customers inside for the atmosphere, as well as for the
83. The Habit Burger Grill, indulgent treats.
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Burger/steak/BBQ • Last year: 81 Amy’s Ice Cream
What began as a hamburger stand in 1969 Bittersweet: The Chocolate Café
is now a 20-unit brand, recognizable for Coldstone Creamery
its signature “charburger” and quality FreshBerry
ingredients. With a new president and CEO Jamba Juice
taking the lead this past June, the California- J.P. Licks Homemade Ice Cream Café
based chain hopes to build on its motto, Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream
“There’s no substitute for quality.” MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream
Marble Slab Creamery
84. Village Burger Bar, Dallas Melt Café and Gelato Bar
Burger/steak/BBQ • Last year: 99 Paciugo
The single-location “uptown twist on the Pinkberry
burger joint” features a built-to-order burger Planet Smoothie Café
menu and three varieties of french fries (even Red Mango
sweet potato!), as well as a swanky drink menu Yovana
including everything from Italian coffees and Zack’s Famous Frozen Yogurt
herbal teas to cocktails, beer and wine.
15 FAST CASUAL / December 2008 January 2009