Tava Kitchen interior

The chain drew some serious investors last year, including CircleUp Growth Fund, Kensington Capital, Agilic Capital, and former Smashburger CEO David Prokupek through his investment fund HiGrowth Advisors.

Breakout Brands 2016: Tava Kitchen

NRN presents the Breakout Brands of 2016: 10 cutting edge restaurant concepts poised to influence the industry in a big way. Follow #NRNChats on Twitter beginning at 3 p.m. EST Feb. 25 for a chat with Breakout Brand leaders. Share your thoughts on this year's picks using #NRNBrands >>

Vijay Brihmadesam, Jason Pate and Hasnain Zaidi were college friends at Duke University who worked together after graduation as business consultants when they decided to open a restaurant. The problem? None of them had restaurant experience.

“They went and got hourly jobs at Chipotle, working for three months at Chipotles around the Bay Area,” said Jeremy Morgan, CEO of Tava Kitchen, the restaurant brand the three friends started in 2011.

The friends’

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