Restaurant chains expanding in Manhattan

New York City Fast-food and casual-dining chains are taking advantage of more available restaurant spaces and budget-minded consumers who prefer inexpensive fare to debut and expand in Manhattan.

Panera Bread is looking at locations across Manhattan, while Toronto-based Freshii's chain will break ground on its first of 20 anticipated New York locations next week, the Wall Street Journal reported. And Vapiano, a German-based pasta chain will open near Union Square next month.

Also coming to the Big Apple are the California-based Counter burger chain, due to debut in October in Times Square, and Elevation Burger, a Virginia-based chain, which is due to open in early fall.

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