Welcome to Baton Rouge’s era of fast casual

The restaurant genre once defined by chains like Chipotle has become more inspired than ever

The medium between fast food and casual restaurants is a broad genre. Fast-casual restaurants come in many packages—from small, mom-and-pop eateries to rapidly expanding chains dishing out burgers. But they generally all tout made-to-order, quick-service meals in an order-at-the-counter setting. The food is typically less processed and fresher than fast food. And fast-casual restaurants are quick in more ways than one: They remained the fastest growing sector of the restaurant industry as of 2018.


Opened October 2018

Photo by Raegan Labat

It’s Chinese food, but served in the kind of stylish setting we’ve come to expect for millennial hangouts: astrological murals and primary-colored serveware, all basked in downtown’s natural light. Young owner Austin Wong has crafted a menu of baos, noodles, rice and build-your-own bowls. Find it on Facebook


Opened November 2018

Photo by Taylor Moran

Southern food generally isn’t healthy—which might be why Vegan Friendly Foods’ fresh takes on jambalaya, gumbo and mac and cheese have seemed to resonate with local vegan and health-conscious diners. veganffoods.com


Opened February 2019

Photo by Kristin Selle

Lasagna or manicotti? At most Italian restaurants, you pick one pasta for your meal. Diners can order the pasta combo for a taste of not one but three pastas at this spot from the owners of La Contea. newyorkpizzaandpastabr.com


Opened April 2019

Photo by Camille Delaune

Yes, this restaurant came from New Orleans. No, that didn’t stop it from being 225 Dine’s most-read “First Look” feature of 2019. Diners went so crazy for its retro-modern design, craft burgers and liquid nitrogen shakes, the restaurant actually had to turn customers away during its grand opening week. Think of it as Louisiana’s version of Shake Shack. theatomicburger.com


Opened April 2019

Photo by Gabrielle Feld

Smoking meat can take hours, but that doesn’t slow the quick service at this spot. It even has a drive-thru. The Praireville eatery serves a variety of meats doused in house-made barbecue sauce, piled high on nachos or even sandwiched with creamy mac and cheese between slices of Texas toast. Find it on Facebook


Opened October 2019

Photo courtesy Too saucy Pasta Bar

Baton Rouge has plenty of build-your-own pizza and bowl restaurants. It only makes sense that a pasta bar would be next. Diners select a sauce, protein, vegetables and noodles, or they can order a signature dish. toosaucypasta.com


Opened September 2019

Photo by Taylor Moran

Several big Louisiana names put their stamp on this modern burger concept fashioned out of shipping containers. The restaurant is owned in part by Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar co-founder Brandon Landry and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Its queso was even created by Chef John Folse. Find it on Facebook

Click here to head back to our Hot New Restaurants cover story from the December 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.