Zaxby’s, a Southeast favorite for chicken fingers and buffalo wings, and one of the nation’s fastest growing restaurant chains, is spreading its wings to its 13th state. The fast-casual restaurant will open its first location in West Monroe, Louisiana, today, Monday, July 2, and plans to have approximately 575 locations across its footprint by the start of 2013.

“Louisiana residents are known for their passion for good food, unique flavor, and enjoying it with family and friends,” says CEO and co-founder Zach McLeroy. “That tradition aligns with Zaxby’s passion to serve the best food in a fun atmosphere; we are excited to bring our exceptional flavors to these food fanatics.”

The West Monroe restaurant is located at 145 Wallace Dean Road, off the Wells Road exit off Interstate 20. The new 3,400-square-foot location seats 88 and offers drive-thru services to meet the needs of customers on the go.

With the first Louisiana location in West Monroe, the company has opened up additional markets for development across the state in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport, Louisiana, areas.

Co-founders and childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley opened the first Zaxby’s restaurant in Statesboro, Georgia, in 1990. Since then, the chain has progressively grown throughout the Southeast. The company opened its first Texas location in March of 2008, and expanded into Indiana with its first location opening in February 2010.

The Athens, Ga.-based chain now operates more than 550 locations in 13 states.

“Our fast casual concept appeals to people interested in a prepared-at-order, delicious meal in a comfortable dining environment,” says McLeroy. “We have become a highly recognized brand with an innovative concept that has proven successful with our steady growth.”

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