The day has come for restaurants that dare to be different.
Nation’s Restaurant News has released its roster of the Breakout Brands of 2016, and the trend of the year is quirky creativity.
“What the concepts have in common is that they all break the mould,” the foodservice industry publication writes. “These new emerging restaurant brands bring customers a unique experience, tapping into hot trends and taking innovative approaches to food and service.”
Here are five new brands that are changing the restaurant industry as we know it.
Xi’an’s Famous Foods
Xi’an serves authentic cuisine from the Shaanxi province in northwest China, with menu items such as spicy cumin lamb burgers, pork “zha jiang” noodles, and “spicy and tingly” beef noodle soup.
The nine-location chain has come a long way from a food stall in the basement of a mall in Queens, with celebrity fans including Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay. In January, Xi’an was named the second-best Chinese restaurant in America by TimeOut US.
é is paving the way to make the Hawaiian raw fish dish a mainstream lunch go-to. Customers can build their own bowls of poké at the restaurant, with bases including spicy tuna, salmon, snapper, and tofu.
Sweetfin is located in Santa Monica, California, and has plans to open five more locations in the Los Angeles area this year.
The Chicago-based premium coffee chain is a hipster favourite (and Victoria’s Secret model approved). In November, Peet’s acquired a majority stake in the 10-location chain, bringing Intelligentsia into its parent company’s coffee-heavy portfolio that includes Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Caribou Coffee, and the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.
Jillian D’Onfro/Business Insider
Eatsa is a rare restaurant that requires zero human contact.
The two-location concept is almost fully automated, functioning like a vending machine that spits out freshly-prepared food. The menu is super healthy, with $6.95 quinoa bowls featuring toppings like portobello mushroom, edamame, corn, salsa, guacamole, onions, pears, spaghetti squash, and more.
As fast-food gets health-savvy, By Chloe is precisely on trend.
The fast-casual restaurant serves up food that is 100% vegan, plant-based, and kosher certified. However, the menu is intended to appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike, with a menu packed with meat-free tacos, burgers, french fries, and pasta.
NOW WATCH: Poké is the next healthy fast food trend
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