Founded: 2010 in New York City
Current locations: 15 in New York
Sample salad: The Aloha with romaine and kale, charred pineapple, hijiki, and toasted cashews
Fresh & Co. doesn't do anything particularly bold to differentiate itself from competitors as far as set-up or appearance -- it's your basic counter-service assembly line. Instead it stakes its claim in the market with subtle differences and by playing to its strengths. There's a veritable bounty of available salad ingredients representing the most prolific on this list. The salads are cheaper than most, but they still incorporate locally sourced ingredients, which is a big point of pride for the brand. In fact, it's kind of weird that Fresh & Co. can undercut the competition while keeping things interesting and surprisingly delicious.
Starting at around $7, the custom salads are definitely less pricey than most, and even though it has chef-designed options, you probably want to get your hands dirty making your own (I mean, not literally... they do it for you). Fresh & Co. has a ridiculous number of options, and this is where it truly shines. We're talking about chimichurri, turkey bacon, falafel, spinach -- both baby and adult. It's essentially a control freak's dream. And in the morning, it has a full breakfast menu stocked with everything from huevos rancheros to challah French toast, omelets, and a full hot cereal bar, just in case you aren't fully sold on the concept of salad as a breakfast item.