#COeats 4: What’s the next big thing in Denver dining?

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DENVER -- Ramen isn't that stuff you warm up in styrofoam cup anymore.  Certainly not this ramen, being prepared by one of Denver's most well-known and highly praised chefs, Troy Guard.

“I think it's an easy, inexpensive flavorful dish, and it fills you up,” Guard said.

And it fills a void in the fast growing, fast casual restaurant industry. An industry that has so many roots in Denver.

Guard's TAG Restaurant Group has now opened its second Bubu - The Fresh Revolution restaurant here in Denver, a place where so many other fast casual restaurants have worked.  And while the chef is focused on the Bubu locations that are open now - he certainly does see the big picture.

“I think it would be kind of cool, who wouldn't … if you had a restaurant in Hawaii or Chicago or New York, who wouldn't think that's cool?  But i want to do it right here so they enjoy it there,” Guard said.

Bubu could be the next big thing in a business that is changing by the minute, and experiencing fierce new competition.

For instance, Chipotle has begun to roll out a pizza concept - Pizzeria Locale.  And the parent company of Smashburger has a new pizza restaurant chain of its own - Live Basil.

One thing's clear, you'll be seeing a lot more restaurants like these.  In 2007 - there were just over 11,000 fast casual restaurants in the United States.  Now there are more than 16,000, and that number is growing daily.  As the places where we eat here in Colorado vie to become the next Chipotle, or Noodles and Company, or Smashburger.  One pizza or salad or bowl of ramen at a time.

“I'd like for you to be interviewing me in five years with our 50th restaurant or something, that would be pretty cool,” Guard said.

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