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Fast, casual restaurants popping up across Valley

An employee takes an order at Capriotti's Sandwiches. (Christina Estes/KTAR)

It seems every week we hear about a new restaurant opening in the Valley, but they're not fast food or fine dining establishments.

Instead, they're considered fast casual restaurants, like Capriotti's Sandwiches, which opened in mid-December near 16th St. and Bethany Home Rd. in Phoenix.

It's the second Capriotti's franchise for Adam Gilburne and his partner, "I think what's happened is that people have re-adjusted what they're used to."

Gilburne said nearly all restaurants suffered financially in 2007 and 2008. Then, in 2010 and 2011, he said people started eating out again, patronizing fast casual places rather than full-service restaurants,

"You know, for $8 or $9, you can get a high quality meal with no tip," he said.

Chicago-based Portillo's plans to open two Valley locations in 2013, one near Tempe Marketplace should open in late summer, the other at 90th St. and Shea in Scottsdale will open in February. Eric Peterson, Vice President of Portillo's Restaurant Group, said they're looking to hire about 200 people for their Scottsdale store.

"Anywhere from greeters to order takers to cashiers to sandwich makers. We have extremely flexible hours and we'll have a mix of both full-time and part-time employees."

Starting Jan. 3, applicants can apply in person at Portillo's hiring center at 9160 E. Shea Blvd., Unit 103A in Scottsdale. You can also pick up and drop off applications at a mailbox located at the restaurant's site at the southwest corner of 90th St. and Shea.

Pita Pit is also moving into the Valley. An Arizona couple has signed a franchise agreement to bring 11 locations to the market, starting in Tempe early next year.

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