Where they are: Washington and the Bay Area
Why you need them: Homegrown operates under the banner of "slow food, served fast," and while that is all sorts of juxtapositional, they work it wonderfully. Like so many sustainability-minded restaurants, Homegrown proudly flaunts a list of the local farms, creameries, and roasters that provides its goods. Unlike most of those places, this is a counter-service joint trafficking largely in sandwiches, and oh what sandwiches they are. Here, the humble steak sandwich is grass-fed and loaded with greens and blue cheese, pastrami is smoked in-house and covered in white Cheddar, and vegetarians get extra love in the form of a succulent broccoli melt and a smashed chickpea number piled with beets, avocado, and lemon harissa tahini. Salads get just as much love, with a matcha chicken avocado creation standing out thanks to the incorporation of warm ancient greens. Even the humble bacon, egg & cheese is highlighted by applewood bacon and roasted garlic aioli. It's fast-ish food you can feel really, really good about.