Best Fast Casual Restaurant

Cava Mezze Grill
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Many strive to become “the next Chipotle,” but Cava Mezze Grill is the only place in the assembly-line fast casual genre that’s actually superior to the Mexicanish chain. Started by the local team behind the more upscale Cava restaurants, the Greek-inspired grill serves up hormone- and antibiotic-free meats plus made-from-scratch dips and toppings in your choice of a bowl, salad, or pita. You can’t go wrong with any combination, but I’m partial to the rice bowl with braised lamb, scoops of tzatziki, harissa, and “crazy feta,” plus generous spoonfuls of tomato-onion salad, cabbage salad, and pickled onions. (There’s no extra charge for—or stinginess with—the toppings.) Cava Grill has quickly expanded to five locations with a sixth on the way, but don’t be surprised if that’s just the beginning.
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