Plant-based powers up
When even New Orleans cuisine can get plant-friendly, you know it’s a trend worth watching. With many cool new plant-based “meat” products out there, and an ever-evolving interest in connecting with farmers, vegetables are finding a seat at the head of the table these days.
The possibilities are endless when a chef looks at an empty (preferably reusable or compostable) bowl. We saw some of the most flavorful bowls this year, including a za’atar chicken bowl, a drunken shrimp bowl, a Thai Buddha bowl and even a low-waste bowl.
Sustainability at the forefront
When the name of your venue is the Climate Pledge Arena (CPA), the menus had better walk the walk of sustainability. FM’s October Innovator of the Month, Seattle’s CPA, and its partner Delaware North have come together for the first-ever net Zero Carbon arena in the world.
Birria is dip-ready
This year, birria really blew up. Suddenly all over Instagram and TikTok, this savory Mexican stew that’s perfect for dipping became a trend-setter when combined with a quesadilla, becoming quesobirria.
Pop-ups pop in at the right time
Low-pressure, fun and temporary, pop-up food events definitely fit well with the times. We saw s’mores pop-ups, global pop-ups coinciding with cultural events and just-for-fun pop-ups with a single item, like grilled cheese.
Big flavors stake their claim
While many menu trends stalled or fell off the radar, spicy food is here to stay, according to Datassential, taking stock of trends midyear. That means Nashville hot chicken, jalapeno poppers in lots of forms and buffalo mac are keeping menus nice and spicy.
Take it outside
Even as the weather gets a bit chillier, your customers still want full meals that are easy to enjoy when and where they want them (even if that picnic is at home on the couch!) We found so many grab-and-go-able items this year, from crunchy street corn salad to amped-up potato salad to brisket loaded fries and pickled veggies.
Chilis, stews, soups and bisques. It’s virtually all you need to for a season of comfy and cozy customers. Whether it’s meat-lover or plant-based, your stew selection can bring everyone in from the cold.
Carefree Caribbean vibes
The “Don’t Worry Be Happy” vibes of Caribbean cuisine is the perfect antidote to today’s stressful world. A new focus on beloved favorites like pernil, rice and beans, mojo marinades and plantains has us feeling irie. Here’s more:
Old-school French cooking makes a comeback
An upsurge in new French restaurants around the country inspired the Restaurant Associates team to create the Au Coin concept, a love letter to French bistro fare, like cassoulet, tarts, crepes and more.