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QSR: The 5 Biggest Fast Casual Openings of 2016

This year’s biggest fast casual names to enter the industry focused on chef-driven concepts.

QSR Magazine took a look at five of the biggest fast casuals that opened in 2016, focusing on what these new concepts did to differentiate themselves in the market and create buzz. The five restaurants discussed are LocoL (opened in January) in Los Angeles, Porano Pasta (opened in January) in St. Louis, Great State Burger (opened in February) in Seattle, Lobster Press (opened in January) in New York City and Shouk (opened in May) in Washington, D.C.

A common theme amongst all the above listed restaurants is that they are chef-driven, attempting to create one-of-a-kind dining experiences with classic and unique menu items alike. Some restaurants, while creating lots of buzz, weren’t immediately well received by all.

"The truth is that LocoL has hit a nerve,” wrote LocoL co-founder Roy Choi responded when a New York Times restaurant critic gave the restaurant a zero-star review. “Doesn't mean all people love it, some hate it. But no one is indifferent by it. ... His criticisms are a reflection of us and the nerve that LocoL touches. And our imperfections. Also the nerve of challenging the binary structure of privileged thought patterns and how life is not just about what's a success or failure, but some things are real struggles and growth journeys."

Click here to read the full article.