Casual-dining chains are starting to serve up their June sales figures, and the results are hotter than a spicy pepperoncini pepper.

Last night, Buca di Beppo parent BUCA (NASDAQ:BUCA) reported a 2.6% spike in same-restaurant sales for the second quarter, while multiconcept titan Darden (NYSE:DRI) posted a 3% to 4% advance at its Olive Garden chain for the month of June.

Remember when patrons were bypassing Italian eateries because of the Atkins-fueled carb-counting craze a couple of years ago? Even though concepts like Outback's (NYSE:OSI) Carrabba's and Brinker's (NYSE:EAT) Romano's Macaroni Grill tried to stay relevant by emphasizing their chicken and meat entrees over their once-signature pastas, it was really just a matter of time before the diet trend moved on to something else.

The results at BUCA and Darden are still impressive. This marks BUCA's seventh consecutive quarter of top-line improvement at the unit level. At Darden's Olive Garden, the healthy showing is stacked atop a 10%-11% same-restaurant sales spike from last year's June period.

On a grander scale, investors should be encouraged that leading casual operators are faring well early in the summer season. Fears that soaring gas prices would keep hungry patrons indoors seem to be overblown. Even at $3 a gallon, gasoline doesn't appear to be keeping folks from their favorite dining establishments.

Restaurant-stock investors? Feel free to consume the early good news, and digest it well.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz always seems to have a restaurant stock or two in his portfolio, but doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers newsletter team. The Fool has a disclosure policy .