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Salads – Crushed Red

If ever there was a St. Louis chain poised to follow in Panera’s footsteps, Crushed Red is it. The local franchise now boasts two Denver locations in addition to the three here in town. Dine at the restaurant’s flagship in Clayton, and you’ll quickly understand why the concept is setting the fast-casual world on fire. Crushed Red offers diners hand-stretched pizzas and a selection of appetizers made from wholesome ingredients. The restaurant’s salads, however, truly define the “healthy food fast” movement. Choose from one of the pre-designed salads or build your own from a list of ingredients as long as the line out the door during lunchtime. But don’t fret about the crowd: The salad crafters mix and chop orders with maximum speed. It’s a wonder something served so fast can be so elegant and wholesome, but Crushed Red nails it. The sky is the limit for this soon-to-be fast-casual juggernaut. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.