Fast casual restaurants have been all the rage in the last few years and for good reason. Eateries with Chipotle-style service allow customers to customize their order and get delicious high-quality food in a matter of minutes. This trend may have started with Chipotle but the market now covers a wide variety of different cuisines. DC just so happens to be an up and coming food city with hundreds of restaurants for you to indulge in and here are just a few of the fast and casual joints you can go to in the city.

If you’re craving Mediterranean: Cava Mezze Grill 

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @cavagrill on Instagram

If you like Roti, you’ll love Cava. With a few locations around DC (including their new Dupont location a few blocks from campus), Cava offers fast and fresh Greek and Mediterranean food with lots of healthy options. You start by choosing either a greens bowl or grains bowl (or a combination for the indecisive ones) or a pita. You then add dips and spreads like hummus and their famous crazy feta, before moving on to the proteins (if you ask they can do half and half) and finish off with fresh toppings and dressings. There are so many options so you’ll never get bored. Don’t know how or where to start? Check out this article to find out how one of our writers made her bowl.

If you’re craving Mexican: District Taco

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @districttaco on Instagram

Cheaper than Chipotle (here’s to you, college kids) and with lots more options, District Taco doesn’t just offer tacos but also enchiladas, nachos, bowls and more with a variety of proteins and toppings. One of their best deals offers 3 tacos for just $8 and you’re allowed to try three different proteins in each taco. They also have an awesome free salsa bar (chips are extra) whether you want to add it to your meal or snack on some chips while your food is being prepared. Skip the line at Chipotle and check out this local option with fresh, flavorful Mexican food!

If you’re craving Asian: Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen 

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @shophouse on Instagram

Shophouse is the Southeast Asian equivalent of Chipotle, they have the same owner. At Shophouse, you can build your bowl, with a rice, noodle or salad base, and protein, sauce, slaws and veggies. Shophouse is a great option if you’re trying to be healthy or have dietary restrictions (everything they serve is wheat, gluten and dairy free) and they have tons of vegan options! One thing to beware of: the spice (but that’s just them staying true to the Southeast Asian culture)!

If you’re craving something green: Sweetgreen

Fast Casual

Photo by Katie McLane

This one is no secret but it’s one of my favorite places to grab a bite so I had to include it. Sweetgreen offers both custom salads and a few pre-designed options, three of which change seasonally. Their menu has lots of options for many different tastes like Kale Caesar, Guacamole Greens and my favorite Spicy Sabzi. If none of the pre-designed options suit your fancy you can create your own with the plethora of greens, veggies, toppings and dressings offered. The only complaint I have is that sometimes the seasonal salads don’t last long enough – looking at you Apples, Pears and Cheddar.

If you’re craving pizza: &pizza

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @andpizza on Instagram

Oh &pizza how I love you. Your pizza is made right in front of you as you add as many sauces, cheeses and toppings as your heart desires (some cost a little extra) before it is slid into the special oven. This isn’t any old pizza place, they offer all kinds of gourmet toppings like fig balsamic, mushroom truffle sauce, roasted chickpeas and a whole egg, cracked right on top and cooked along with the pizza. There’s something to please both picky and adventurous eaters here and I challenge you not to eat the whole thing.

If you’re craving a burger: Good Stuff Eatery 

Fast Casual

Photo Courtesy of @goodstuffeatery on Instagram

Owned by famous chef and Top Chef competitor Spike Mendelson, Good Stuff offers a variety of unique and delicious burgers. My favorite is the Prez Obama burger which has Applewood Bacon, Onion Marmalade, Roquefort Cheese and Horseradish Mayo. If you feel like going all out their village fries with rosemary and thyme are amazing especially with one of the many house-made aiolis and their shakes are some of the best in town.

If you’re craving grilled cheese: Melt Shop

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @meltshop on Instagram

Sometimes you just need a hot melty grilled cheese and you need it now. If this is the case, Melt Shop is for you. Not only do they offer traditional grilled cheeses but they have several gourmet options including a truffle melt and buffalo chicken which has a huge piece of fried buffalo chicken in the middle. Definitely not the healthiest option on the list but sometimes you just need comfort food. They also have fantastic shakes.

If you’re craving a sandwich: Taylor Gourmet

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of @taylorgourmet on Instagram

Taylor Gourmet specializes in Philly-style hoagies with interesting gourmet toppings. Their menu is organized by the type of protein (or vegetarian) and each has several different options including a seasonal special. Around Thanksgiving, I had one with turkey, squash, brie and cranberry and it was incredible. They also have really tasty salads. If you’re looking for a high-quality sandwich that isn’t just ham and cheese this place delivers.

If you’re craving Italian: Vapiano 

Fast Casual

Photo courtesy of Katie McLane

Fast-casual Italian? I didn’t know that was possible until I came here and it exceeded my expectations. At Vapiano you get a ‘debit card’ that you then present at one of three stations: pizza, pasta/risotto and salad. The chefs make your dish right in front of you and then, you tap your card. When you leave, you present your card to the cashier and pay whatever you spent. It makes going out to eat with big groups super easy and it’s very affordable with many options under $10. It may not be your Italian grandmother’s cooking but it’s pretty damn good. You also get to pick which shape of pasta they use which I love.