A new brand of burger joint - 'fast-casual'

They're not exactly fast food, and they're certainly not formal restaurants. But "fast-casual" eateries, which offer a sit-down dining experience at affordable prices, are revolutionizing the foods Americans love. And in light of what Chipotle and Qdoba have done for the burrito, it appears that the hamburger market is following suit.

These "better burger" restaurants have been popping up all over Lexington. In the past year and a half, Lexington has been introduced to two popular gourmet burger chains, Smashburger and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Include Red Robin, which opened in Nicholasville in spring 2007, and Hugh Jass Burgers, scheduled to open soon, and the rate of growth is taking on a quick pace.

Molly Catalano, director of communications for Five Guys, says the demand for quality burgers is nothing new, but it is growing.

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