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Genesis Russell looks over the shuttered Fresh to Order restaurant in East Brainerd.

After nearly a decade of operation, the Fresh to Order restaurant in East Brainerd has closed.

The store at 1919 Gunbarrel Road was owned by the Alpharetta, Ga.-based QS America, whose founder Pierre Panos started the restaurant chain to bring "fast fine" dining to more consumers.

"I'm really sorry to see it close," said Genesis "Grey Kid" Russell, who visited the restaurant Thursday night only to find it closed. "For vegans like us, it's hard to find a lot of the great food options they had here."

The restaurant was one of 15 operated by Fresh to Order. No other units are closing at this time.

A sign on the door of the Gunbarrel location said the lease for the restaurant had ended and the company urged customers to visit Fresh to Order stores in the Atlanta area, where most are located.

In 2011, Panos said he hoped to expand to the downtown Chattanooga area within the next year, but no other Fresh to Order restaurants were ever opened in the Chattanooga area.

"The whole goal is to take really, really good taste profiles and chef techniques, and re-engineer them to give the customer a quality dining experience," Panos said in explaining the restaurant concept five years ago.

Panos' company, QS America, has run 15 Papa John's franchise locations in the area, so he knew the market well when he decided to expand here. The company also oversees real estate and the Fresh to Order and Brookwood Grill brands.

The East Brainerd store opened in 2009.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.

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