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10 Best Fast-Casual Restaurants 2009

You like to go out to eat. And you deserve to -- after preparing practically every meal, it's nice to let someone else do the cooking now and then. But where to go? Sit-down restaurants can be pricey, fast-food places are pretty limited and not exactly known for healthy fare. An alternative: ?fast-casual? restaurants -- a hybrid of the two. You order at the counter and get your food quickly, but these places have a more varied menu, higher-quality ingredients, and comfier seating than typical fast-food joints. And they cost just a little more.
boy eating hot dogs

Parents surveyed 50 of these chains -- places like Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Quiznos -- to find out which ones rock when it comes to feeding families. We left no crumb unturned on the kids' menu, examining the calories, fat, and sodium of each dish. (We booted out any place that wouldn't fork over the info.) Then we grilled the restaurants about conveniences that are often must-haves for parents, like changing tables in the restrooms, booster seats for toddlers, or stuff for the kids to do if they finish their meal before you do. These chains came out on top for having at least three healthy kids' meals and a family-friendly atmosphere. And did we mention that the food is totally delish?