Bringing the flavors of the Southwest to the East Coast is Desert Moon Cafe, a quick-service restaurant chain founded in 1992. The franchise operates seven locations in Connecticut, New Jersy, New York and Virginia.

"Our goal is to expand, to capitalize on a very underdeveloped category [fresh Mexican/Southwestern cuising] on the East Coast," says Gary Occhigrosso, vice president of franchising and brand development. The idea for the cafe, according to COO Joe Conway, came to founder Kevin Rink during a visit to Arizona: He loved the Southwestern cuisine and figured it would be a terrific hit on the East Coast.

Desert Moon Cafe serves its menu of made-to-order burritos, quesadillas, soups and salads in malls and other locations.