A. Elizabeth Sloan

At first glance, “upscale casual” may seem like an oxymoron. Rather, it’s a new term describing one of the most widespread—and irreversible—food trends to come along in years.


“Upscale casual” refers to fresh, mildly trendy, upscale signature dishes and hand-made fast foods sold at reasonable—although hardly bargain—prices through eat-in or take-out restaurants, gourmet take-out buffets, upscale supermarket foodservice, trendy delis, etc. Also known as “fast casual” or “fast upscale,” the “haute…

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