Friday, February 13, 2009

Duke Does Dallas

Dallas Food Tour

Executive Board Members of the Fast Casual Alliance, Paul Barron Chairman, Louis Basile President, Alan Hixon Vice President and Linda Duke Secretary, recently met in Dallas , TX to find some Fast Casual restaurant brands to visit for the Food Tour at the 2009 Fast Casual Summit scheduled for September. The team visited several brands and below are photos of some of the menu items and a tour of several brands in the Dallas area.

The first stop, la Madeleine, a fast casual French bistro, bakery and cafe, that serves elegant, healthy French cuisine and baked goods.

In store signage at la Madeleine promotes quick, fresh and healthy menu items for under $3.00

More in store signage promotes other healthy menu items branded "Smart Choices."

Beautiful (and cute!) fruit tarts

Quintessential French cuisine: croque monsieur, tomato bisque and quiche

From left to right: Paul Baron and Alan Hixon

Louise Basile showing off mini desert shooter.

The second stop, Cafe Express, The restaurant was very large with full bar and two menu boards for each of the ordering areas. Louis stopped at the Oasis Condiment area to try some pickles and olives. We enjoyed their delicious coffee and tried several menu items.

Exterior signage

Two HUGE menu boards at Cafe Express

A condiment oasis

Louise choosing a sample of pickles

Team takes a break to check email on their Crackberries, Linda catches them in the act!

Before the Third stop on the tour the team passed a new Vapiano under construction that will be on the tour in September. Then we were off to Central Market the most amazing gourmet grocery store! Within the walls of this mammoth store, it houses a restaurant, a cooking school and enough chef prepared food to make deciding what’s for dinner impossible! They carry over 1000 kinds of cheese, make 400 different bakery items fresh each day, and their meat and seafood counters total 1 mile in length. This is a foodie’s heaven on earth.

Vapiano, not yet opened.

Fruits in front of Central Market

Everything is bigger in Texas: Mile Long Meat Counter at Central Market

What do you choose for dinner? At Central Market the choices truly are endless.

Miles and miles of cheese!!

With over 400 types of bread, Central Market could be named the bread basket of the United States

Say Cheese Linda!!

Louis eyeing the salsa and especially the olive bar.

Snow capped vegetables.

After the big burrio at Freebirds, we were off to see a new concept, Zoë’s Kitchen. This fast casual Mediterranean brand is clean and sleek. The restaurant has very minimal decor and is bright inside and out. We tried several menu items and sampled their various unique dishes. This is definitely a new concept to add to the tour in September.

Beautiful outdoor signage at Zoes

Interior minimalism at Zoe's

Zoes modern interior features sleek lines, bright colors, industrial touches and spacious ceilings.

Zoes in store merchandise including coolers and cups for diners on the go.

Right to Left: Louis and Paul ordering at Zoes.

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