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Mimi's: From France to Anaheim

From the fields of post-war france to the world of casual dining. At least that's how part of the Mimi's story goes.

The Louisiana-themed eatery was founded by a World War II vet who fell in love with a French woman named Mimi after the war. The first Mimi's opened in Anaheim in 1978, offering a New Orleans-influenced menu of jambalaya and other favorites. Since then, the owners have made moves to broaden the concept's appeal, last year remodeling in a more rustic style and adding crowd-pleasing items like burgers, pasta, and chicken.

Even if Mimi herself wouldn't be entirely happy with that all-American direction, that move has paid off for the chain, which seemingly came out of nowhere to land on our list this year. The addition of 5 units last year helped up the systemwide sales 20.2%, with each Mimi's restaurant bringing in $2.7 million.

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