The New Fast Food
By Michael Gawlik McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s are things of the past. The classic American burger joint has been supplanted by a new breed of fast food- one which favors ceramic plates over greasy paper bags, attention to detail over speed of delivery, and quality over price. Though hardly new-Panera, Chipotle, and Noodles & Company were all founded in the 80s and early 90s- these so called “fast casual restaurants” have recently surged forward in their appeal and size. Each specializes in a type of cuisine and offers food of a higher caliber than traditional fast food counterparts. Though pricier than an Arby’s or Taco Bell, these establishments offer fresh ingredients made to order; many of them also only buy organic crops and holistically raised animals. The food is varied and is very good. Take Noodles for instance; though it focuses primarily on a single type of dish (funny enough, noodles) it finds great diversity in covering the palates of three continents. A staple base is the only thing that holds together an otherwise mixed menu, allowing the restaurant to retain a theme while offering options for a wide crowd. Because of the elevated price of meals at these restaurants as compared to Mickey D’s, this wide crowd is often of the more yuppie contingent. It’s not uncommon to see businesspeople stopping in for lunch or to hear their Birmingham children claim they’ve never tasted anything better than a bean burrito. These eateries are not, however, opulent or overpriced. They provide a tasty and affordable meal which requires the customer to sacrifice a few dollars for superior food. Their meteoric rise to prominence is well deserved and each of Knight Life’s reviewed chains is well worth a visit.