After food trucks, what's next?
March 22, 2013 8:17 AM   Subscribe

What will the next big retail food establishment trends be? It was cupcake bakeries a while ago, and then food trucks and hip frozen yogurt places. What's the next big thing? Is some sort of food business emerging in New York, LA, or London that will reach me here in the U.S. Midwest in a couple of years?
posted by Area Man to Food & Drink (86 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe "EthnicityX Chipotle"? The Indian Chipotle, the Peruvian Chipotle, the Japanese Chipotle, the Moroccan Chipotle, etc.

As in -- fast, casual, assembly-line, but presumably not-low quality, and vaguely appealing to wannabe foodie sensibilities in a mass-consumer environment.
posted by lewedswiver at 8:22 AM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nose to tail?
posted by mdonley at 8:24 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Falafel and hummus places are really trending to the point where they're not unique or unusual anymore, so that's a good bet (if they haven't reached you already).

Kati rolls keep looking like they are going to go wider, but so far I think they haven't.
posted by Mchelly at 8:25 AM on March 22, 2013


In the same vein as cupcake bakeries, we have had a lot of macarons for a while now. Have you gotten them in the midwest yet?
posted by valeries at 8:26 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pop-ups, restaurant swaps, and temporary chef residencies.
posted by neroli at 8:29 AM on March 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


Hipster donuts.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:33 AM on March 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


Donuts are have been the growing trend in Chicago. Upscale, expensive donuts, made in small batches sold in hip little places with lines out the door and when they're gone, they're gone. Like edible iPhones.

That being said, I still want to try the Bacon Butterscotch donut at Nightwood.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:33 AM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Even cheaper than foodtrucks: restaurants that operate within other establishments with no fixed address.

Two SF examples: Nick's Crispy Tacos which started in a nightclub and has bounced around a few times. Also B Patisserie, a pastry shop that finally has a permanent address after bouncing around doing popups and short term gigs in coffee houses.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:34 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are also a few places here where the lunch service in a restaurant is handled by another group entirely. Like Seoul Patch (which serves Korean food weekdays at lunch) that operates out of Rocketfish (which serves Japanese food evenings and weekends).
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There seems to be a trend in NYC of restaurateurs opening a fun/casual/cheap place and an associated, more expensive and/or experimental place. Examples: the fancy Blanca behind Roberta's Pizza or the sit-down Pok Pok and the carry-out Phat Thai. (Of course, for all I know this has been going on here for years and I only just noticed it because I haven't lived here that long.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:41 AM on March 22, 2013


Also, have you been inundated with upscale burger joints yet? Five Guys is obviously the flag bearer in this market segment but there are a load of competitors trying to catch up. There are 4 or 5 new chains in my area. Some larger than others. But that market will have to eventually shake out like the frozen yogurt avalanche that has taken place.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


bahn mi sandwiches
posted by bq at 8:44 AM on March 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


I thought it was going to be macarons, but that seems to have fizzled out. Just not enough variety, and everyone thinks you've misspelled macaroons, I guess. Could be doughnuts, but here in DC we're seeing a lot of Belgian places. After the success of his burger and pizza places, I hear Spike Mendelsohn is opening a Belgian restaurant next, and there are (at least) two more nearby.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:47 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crepes.
posted by BibiRose at 8:50 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pho/Ramen/Noodle Soups. We have a few restaurants around here that are starting to offer that stuff in limited quantities at set times, so maybe that. Or maybe just the idea of exclusivity where only a certain number of a certain dish is served per night.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gluten free
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 8:52 AM on March 22, 2013


Fancy donuts are very in right now.

I feel like bahn mi tried to take off a few years ago but kind of stagnated.

Poutine is big. Upscale grilled cheese is big. Maybe the cheesy/greasy fancy comfort foods thing is happening, but it was happening 4 years ago, too.

The use the whole animal butchering movement thing was starting to get big in restaurants...I want to say 2 years ago? maybe?...now I think it's getting to be more of a home thing.

For some reason, I've been getting the impression lately that waffles (and unusual foods inside of waffles) are the next big thing, but I have no hard data to back that up.

This is all from a Chicago perspective.
posted by phunniemee at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bean-to-Bar chocolate
posted by vacapinta at 8:59 AM on March 22, 2013


I thought Whoopie Pies would be the next cupcakes, but they've crashed my bracket. Hipster donuts are huge in Denver. Mmmmm, donuts.....
posted by cyndigo at 9:02 AM on March 22, 2013


Been seeing a few Mexican/Korean fusion places poppin' up recently -- one in Williamsburg, one in Crown Heights (with an associated food truck), one in Asbury Park NJ. They're all fucking delicious -- easy to eat on the go, savory as hell, reasonably easy to put together the ingredients and modify as ordered. It wouldn't surprise me if this combo keeps catching on.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:07 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm noticing that San Diego's grill-at-table Korean BBQ population has been increasing lately, and the new places are generally All You Can Eat and a little hipper than the ancient ones I've been to before. I won't call it a definite thing until I see one near a mall, though.

We've also had a couple of distinctly hipster ramen shops open in the past year. Ramen is hardly unheard-of here, but these are in expensive downtown retail space rather than inside or next door to a Japanese supermarket.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:12 AM on March 22, 2013


I think barbecue and southern food have gotten much trendier in NY of late. In particular, places that sell barbecue meat by the pound and fried chicken joints. I have definitely witnessed many of the trends upthread as well (nose-to-tail, donuts, fancy grilled cheese, ramen, etc etc etc, yum).
posted by mlle valentine at 9:15 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a place here in Nashville that's doing fresh-baked cookie delivery. I dunno how successful they are but that seems like something that could catch on.
posted by ghharr at 9:17 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


For reference, Minneapolis has banh mi and pho already, though that's not so related to the trend. A fancy donut place just opened, which is interesting given the paucity of donuts in general (this is the only place I've lived without donut shops). Falafel, while certainly obtainable, does not seem to be a trend that has hit (whereas, while we already had banh mi and pho, you sense it's also a trend).
posted by hoyland at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2013


Ramen is getting super big here in Austin lately, and people seem OK with the idea of waiting in a long line to get the best ramen. (I'm thinking of Ramen Tatsu-ya, which is worth all the hype and the wait. Ramen has actually dethroned pho in my heart.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:25 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised to see experimental places like PYT -- they invented the bacon taco shell, have adult milkshakes, etc.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:29 AM on March 22, 2013


There has been a general trend of gourmet splurge food, such as sliders, cupcakes, etc. I would look for that to continue, although I think the cupcake market is oversaturated. At least I hope it is.

More inventive cross culinary takes, such as Mexican and Korean (Takorean in DC and I know there are others).

Also lately in DC elote con queso has been popping up in happy hours, with excellent results. Please may that trend continue.
posted by SpicyMustard at 9:29 AM on March 22, 2013


Pop-ups, restaurant swaps, and temporary chef residencies.

Yeah, here in New Orleans right now our food trucks are in a fight with the city council so they're limited in number and apparently the solution is pop-ups. It seems like you can't throw a rock without hitting a bar that has a pop-up restaurant in it one night a week, or a restaurant with a pop-up bar in it a different night of the week.

bahn mi sandwiches

Banh mi was soooo 2009.

upscale burger joints

I believe our influx of burger joints peaked last year but some latecomers (like Five Guys) are still arriving.

Right now apparently no serious New Orleans restaurateur would be caught dead without their own personal production of cured meats, house-made mustards, pickled anythings, terrines, etc. I'm honestly getting a little tired of hearing "Oh, let's order the meat plate as an appetizer" which is something I never thought I'd say.
posted by komara at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Upscale bar food" still has a ways to go but I've seen a lot of it pop up in the past year and it shows no signs of stopping. Like sliders, but sliders made with wagyu beef, or cheese fries but hand-cut from fresh potatoes with good, high-end cheese.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:32 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's going to be big, but my city now has at least 3 Cajun-Vietnamese restaurants (and seriously, yum). NY Times article on the phenomenon.
posted by Wordwoman at 9:46 AM on March 22, 2013


I thought roti rolls were getting big especially in NY but I haven't been out there in a while.
posted by gregjunior at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2013


Hoyland, there are donut places like Mojo Monkey whose bacon-maple bar is quite delicious. Other places do upscale donuts within the Twin Cities.

I always think that Vietnamese food should break out bigger than it does. I am guessing that Burmese will be the next cuisine to be mined or Malaysian.
posted by jadepearl at 9:53 AM on March 22, 2013


Nthing Mexican Korean or straight Korean done Chipotle style. Korean is an untapped market in most of the country and it is delicious/can work with the American palate.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2013


I agree with Ghostride The Whip.

My neighborhood (Second Street, Long Beach, CA: boutiques, bars, restaurants) is a pretty good barometer of this. Twelve years ago one Lebanese/Middle Eastern place opened (about a month before 9/11); within a couple of years we had four and that first one had grown to occupy half a block.

One of the ME places shuttered a year ago (another may be right behind) and was replaced with a gastro pub; now we have three gastro pubs.

So, gastro pubs for the next little while. I think (hope, really) small plates might happen soon. Ramen is overdue. I know one really terrific ramen shop in SoCal (Daikokuya in JTown). There should be lots more.

I've been to a couple of interesting vegan and vegetarian places recently. That could happen. Maybe it already is -- we have two vegan chain restaurants in SoCal (Native Foods and Veggie Grill, which is growing fast).

The trick for boutique restaurateurs is to find a niche that's novel, but not too novel, and also difficult for chains to replicate.
posted by notyou at 9:56 AM on March 22, 2013


here in DC we're seeing a lot of Belgian places

I've been getting the impression lately that waffles (and unusual foods inside of waffles) are the next big thing


There might be something to both these observations. I recently had a crab stuffed Belgian waffle and OMG that was frikkin good.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:56 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Korean, my wife works for a subsidiary of a very large South Korean food company (here's a hint: "Nature is Delicious"). They are developing more America-friendly versions of kim chee and have done a bunch of focus groups. Number one complaint? "The chunks are too big."

So, uh, does adding kim chee relish make it a Seoul Dog?
posted by notyou at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was going to say fancy ramen and kimchi tacos, too. It seemed like gourmet hot dogs were going to be a thing, but I'm not sure that really took off.
posted by mgar at 10:14 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Charcuterie and smoking. Fermented stuff.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hear Spike Mendelsohn is opening a Belgian restaurant next

Thanks for the warning. "Good Stuff" might be the worst "burger" joint ever.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Destination restaurants on farms.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


From my vantage point of someone who recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles, the new food trend is more Authentic Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian cuisine. Lots of pho, bao, banh mi, kimchi, etc. Though I see more Korean Fusion than straight up "authentic" Korean.

If we're talking "Belgian Waffles", that's going to be Liege waffles. The Belgian waffles most Americans are familiar with are a food trend from the 60's and 70's. Some restaurants will serve a (typical, batter based) waffle and call it a Belgian Waffle to sound more impressive and less like an Eggo, but the only trendy waffles are Liege waffles, which are nothing at all like what most Americans think of when they think of a Belgian Waffle.

Have artisanal doughnuts been mentioned?
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2013


for all I know this has been going on here for years and I only just noticed it because I haven't lived here that long

Yes, it has. In my mind it started with Nobu Next Door, but I'm sure it was going on before that, even.
posted by Sara C. at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2013


Banh mi was soooo 2009.

In New Orleans, which I think is where the Banh Mi craze started. I'd say it's really only in the last year or two that Banh Mi have become a household name in New York, and Vietnamese is The Food Trend in LA right now.
posted by Sara C. at 10:33 AM on March 22, 2013


I live in a neighbourhood that's become restaurant row. Over the past few years we have acuumulated: a shop for Fried Chicken and Donuts; had a gas station start selling amazing BBQ sandwiches and a late-night curry (to rave reviews); a wine bar with champagne nights and movie or TV nights and food served in little jars; a shop with nothing but Bacon Sandwiches, and desserts like butter tarts with maple bacon; lots of taverns that also offer signature cocktails with their custom-infused bourbons and such, and where there's usually oysters or terrine or duck fat frites in the menu; or you can drink in a yurt (I love the smell of burning peat there)... And across town, tacos and street art or tacos and bourbon are still hugely popular. I think various places are trying to make meatballs happen.

But everywhere in Toronto where there's meat, it's all nose to tail, like Skin & Bones with their crispy chicken tails or other places with the beef cheeks and the pork belly and if they can smoke it or add sriracha sauce or mix it with balsam or something, they'll try it. And all the meat is special, too, and the butchers are revered.

I should note that we are all for these things, and will in fact be making a pilgrimage across town to Glory Hole Doughnuts for Elvis Doughnuts this weekend.

If I were hoping for "the next thing"? Well, I'd like hand pies to be a thing. They're portable, they can be sweet or savoury and full of interesting ingedients. Hopefully they wouldn't cost eight bucks a sandwich like most things around here do. But we're all for fun new things that are probably delicious, and every week it seems something comes up and it's exciting to embrace it for a while. Except for maybe whelks.
posted by peagood at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2013


An acquaintance was recently in NYC to research food trends for a Korean company and the ones they identified were barbecue, Southern food, "gourmet" tacos (as in use of top quality ingredients and inventive fillings), and authentic Chinese.

There definitely does seem to be a trend of Mexican-Korean fusion on both coasts, often represented in the form of kimchi tacos or bulgogi tacos.
posted by needled at 10:42 AM on March 22, 2013


the ones they identified were barbecue

We've noticed that in Arlington and DC and all of them have been varying degrees of garbage. Some of the best barbecue I've ever had came out of, no joke, the trunk of Monte Carlo in North Carolina.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2013


Banh mi was soooo 2009.
In New Orleans, which I think is where the Banh Mi craze started. I'd say it's really only in the last year or two that Banh Mi have become a household name in New York, and Vietnamese is The Food Trend in LA right now.

Really? I didn't think it was ever A Thing down here, by which I mean that the big Vietnamese communities have been humming along for so many years that it never seemed that Vietnamese food was a new hot thing, it was just something you ate when you didn't want a po-boy or whatever. When I made that joke about "soooo 2009" I was thinking specifically of my Manhattanite friends that wouldn't shut up about banh mi back then. Not personally living in NYC I just took that to assume that banh mi was everywhere there and would be totally over in another two months. I don't think New Orleans was ahead of (or behind) the trend of Vietnamese food, at least not on purpose, any more than Memphis would be placed on a BBQ trend timeline. It's just something that goes on here.
posted by komara at 11:07 AM on March 22, 2013


Oh, and hey, Area Man, I know it's not a food but just wait ... craft cocktails. Craft cocktails everywhere.
posted by komara at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me just state for the record that I have extremely mixed feelings about Korean food being the next big trend (in general) and Korean tacos (specifically). Having long defended my ancestral cuisine (hey, if you want subtlety and presentation, there's a nice archipelago next door that does that sort of thing), I'm thrilled that more people will get to experience the tastiness. But I'm also worried that it will get Americanized to the point of an identity crisis. I'm all "just come over and try to commodify this" but I can't tell if the grumbles are because Korean food is getting mainstreamed so late in the game. Gah. Tell me what I am feeling besides hunger?!

Also to answer Area Man: gastro pubs, farm-to-fork, and reinvented street food (Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, but also those damn fancy fusion tacos)
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2013


Wow, some of this sounds pretty good. I was hoping I'd hear that upscale pasties will be the next big thing (I love a good pasty), but I'm excited by Korean, Mexican-Korean fusion, fancy tacos, waffles, and more Chipotle-style restaurants for posers like me. I had some sort of Korean-style burrito at a food truck here last August, so I guess that one has already made an appearance.
posted by Area Man at 11:33 AM on March 22, 2013


Lots of people are still trying to push artisan popsicles, regional Mexican, and Cuban sandwiches-- although thankfully not in the same shop.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2013


yeah farm-to-fork and locavore charcuterie are HUGE right now here in Boulder, which to me is pretty wild because this place is completely overrun by vegan crunchy types, but hey, I'm not complaining.

also Vietnamese street food of varying types has been a big deal with the hipsters in Denver since the early-mid 2000s so I highly doubt it's the "next big thing" seeing as Denver is the Midwest aka typically running 2-5 years behind the latest and hippest of the East/West coast trends.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:59 AM on March 22, 2013


Pasties were very popular around Detroit the last time I visited my parents. I think rustic, farm-to-table, reclaimed wood restaurants are over-saturated, so fancy may be due for a comeback (when Curtis Duffy's "Grace" opened here in Chicago there was insane press about how he was opening a suit-and-tie, folded napkin place). Agree with artisan popsicles, donuts, popcorn. "Underground" restaurants are definitely not underground anymore. It doesn't seem like places take long to catch up on trends anymore; you can go to every city and pretty much the same things seem to be popping at roughly the same time. And trends move so fast they are barely hot before they are over with. It already seems like obsessing over vegetables and foraging (in a backlash to the nose-to-tail, bacon everywhere trend) came and went.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 11:59 AM on March 22, 2013


ramen. yes, i know the article is from 2011...
posted by ps_im_awesome at 1:08 PM on March 22, 2013


Big in Philly: hipster donuts (+ fried chicken), gourmet hotdogs, taco trucks (esp. al pastor-style), nighttime food markets, fancy hamburgers (Shake Shack), super-crispy Korean chicken wings, and high-end expensive Italian sandwiches, hand-pulled noodles, upscale vegetarian.
posted by jrichards at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2013


Also, have you been inundated with upscale burger joints yet? Five Guys is obviously the flag bearer in this market segment but there are a load of competitors trying to catch up. There are 4 or 5 new chains in my area. Some larger than others. But that market will have to eventually shake out like the frozen yogurt avalanche that has taken place.

Here in Fort Worth, there is an all-out burger war going on. Five Guys came from the east, In-N-Out from the west, and the interest in burgers has revised interest in locals such as Kincaid's, Fred's, Pop's Charlie's & Dutch's and is now spawning new concepts such as Rodeo Goat which combines burgers with lots of variety with a full-blown craft beer menu in a setting that looks like one of the animal pens at the county fair.

For that matter, craft beer places are booming here at the moment.
posted by Doohickie at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: artisan cotton candy and alternative adaptations of sushi.
posted by carmicha at 1:30 PM on March 22, 2013


I think the recipe is to identify foodstuffs that were popular with the 25-40 demographic when they were 5-15, bring the presentation forward with contemporary design and pricier ingredients they can now afford.

So, luxe bento boxes (from lunchables) and sangria-in-a-box (juiceboxes).
posted by notyou at 1:46 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here in the SF Bay Area it's bagels.
posted by radioamy at 1:52 PM on March 22, 2013


notyou: "I think the recipe is to identify foodstuffs that were popular with the 25-40 demographic when they were 5-15, bring the presentation forward with contemporary design and pricier ingredients they can now afford.

So, luxe bento boxes (from lunchables) and sangria-in-a-box (juiceboxes).
"

Yes, like Oakland's artisanal mac and cheese restaurant Homeroom.
posted by crazy with stars at 2:46 PM on March 22, 2013


"Rodeo Goat...which combines burgers with lots of variety with a full-blown craft beer menu in a setting that looks like one of the animal pens at the county fair."

I know you're being totally serious but that just cracked my shit up. Awesome. It's a damn shame I didn't see a corn dog on the menu.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2013


Vietnamese has always been "a thing" in LA- Asian food in general is very good and very popular since there's a large Asian population. I agree with pop ups, guest chefs and underground (I.e. in someone's apt) dining, though all of those have been going on for at least 8 years that I know of. They seem more popular and well known now (maybe top chef related?)
posted by rainydayfilms at 5:04 PM on March 22, 2013


Seems like hole-in-the-wall Hawaiian barbecue places like L&L are taking off here. This area may not be representative, though. I'm in the West Sound/Tacoma, not Seattle proper.

Also it helps that they're between the third largest Naval base in the US and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Lots and lots of Navy and Army folks do time in Hawaii at some point in their careers, and Hawaiian-style is kind of comfort food.
posted by ctmf at 6:08 PM on March 22, 2013


There's a lot of good suggestions in here, but i've noticed a couple things happening around my area.

First, all the really good food trucks got a permanent address in a "cool" part of town. One of the most well known ones now does craft cocktails and expanded in every direction at once from home made agua fresca to breakfast on weekends to those drinks.

Another thing is that every food truck, or food truck>shop(or pop up shop!) combination has it's own "special sauce" like item you can buy in a jar to mail to your friends out of town. whether it's a sauce, some sort of cured meat thing, etc. whatever the "signature ingredient" of their most famous food item is, is now being sold in a little jar.

More than anything else though, what seems to be catching on is weird fusion places.

It isn't a Hawaiian or thai or bbq or whatever truck/place, it's hawaiian/mexican/asian fusion. I've seen several places like this catch on.

On preview, ctmf is oddly on point. one of the places i was talking about is hawaiian bbq/fusion. i wonder if that's specific to this area or if it'll become a greater trend.
posted by emptythought at 6:11 PM on March 22, 2013


Have just come back from dinner, where we decided Common Roots ought to be treated as the arbiter of when cuisine trends hit Minneapolis. Aside from food trucks, I guess. (And the arbiter of just how wildly inconsistent your food can be while remaining in business.) By this standard, the banh mi fad (as opposed to non-fad banh mi) hit Minneapolis at least a year back, probably two or three. Ramen made its first appearance last month.

Bao was suggested as a potential oncoming fad. See Chicago, though be warned of auto-playing music.
posted by hoyland at 6:14 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Wow Bao is supposed to be an oncoming fad, it's sure taking a hell of a long time. Lettuce opened the first store back in 2006 and they're up to maybe 3 or 4 now?
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:42 PM on March 22, 2013


nthing korean food (i mean i know momofuku's been around a while, but i feel like it hasn't really taken off in more remote places until recently) and waffles (funny that both are usually paired with fried chicken). donuts are still hanging on (woo fed nuts fig donuts, yum!). cupcakes, macarons, and pork/bacon are kind of over (though yeah, nose to tail and pork shoulder put in weird places like sticky buns is still a thing). craft cocktails are still in (yay for me) but a lot of the people responsible for that in its early iterations are claiming inhaling your cocktails (yes really, like that parks n rec bachelor party bar joke) is the next thing (i sort of hope not). i keep hoping scandinavian food and aquavit will get a broader day in the sun finally.
posted by ifjuly at 7:22 PM on March 22, 2013


Oakland's artisanal mac and cheese restaurant Homeroom

OOOH! OOOOH! [Raises hand Hermione/Horshag style]

Artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches. These were a thing at the Brooklyn Flea for a while (maybe still?), and now I notice that there are at least two or three trendy artisanal grilled cheese places in LA.

The funny thing is that I remember eating at a grilled cheese concept restaurant in the Lower East Side in like 2002 which quickly shut down.

I guess we eventually made Fetch happen...

Lettuce opened the first store back in 2006 and they're up to maybe 3 or 4 now?

I think this is the point people are missing, actually.

The cupcake thing? YEARS in the making. I remember waiting in line for Magnolia Bakery in the West Village in like 2002. Meanwhile LA film people I knew didn't go crazy for cupcakes till like 2011. My guess is that cupcakes are really only now hitting third tier cities like St. Louis, Fargo, Anchorage, etc.

Similarly, a lot of the things mentioned here are way too new to truly be "the next cupcake". I keep wanting to chime in and be like "done", "over", "two thousand and LATE", etc. but then I realize that while I think farm to table is old hat because it hit Brooklyn hard in 2007, it's really only catching on now in other places. Similarly, New Orleanians and Angelenos think Vietnamese is "over" because those trends first bubbled up in those cities 5 years ago -- exactly the amount of time it takes to become The Next Big Thing.

(Also anyone claiming that Vietnamese has "always" been a thing in New Orleans is full of it or maybe hasn't lived there long. I said something to my dad about how there should be a Banh Mi booth at Jazzfest in like 2006 and he looked at me like I had three heads. We are born and bred South Louisiana, too.)
posted by Sara C. at 7:58 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So we've had the local movement, the raw movement, the noodle shop, the food truck, the burrito, the sushi restaurant, the Japanese steak house, the rise of pho cuisine (Asian-fusion), the celebrity-chef restaurant, and the wine bar.

On the bakery side, we've had neighborhood, then to peasant style, then the plated desert restaurant, then to the cupcake explosion...

For food, pork started getting big about 15 years or so, really BBQ took off back then, but part of that was the rise of corporate american chain fast dining restaurants, and a few steakhouse/smoke houses fit in that mix for diversification purposes. Pork beget ham, beget bacon, which had a heyday. When I was cooking though, prosciutto and pancetta were making it big. Also, pork lardons and in-house smoking and curing of bacon was big. There were also big pushes for andoulile, chorizo, and linguicia sausages in a few menu items. Really pork has just about run its course, but when compared to chicken and steak its got a lot more versatility - since chicken tastes like everything else it really isn't fun. Once you go local, oor maybe expand out to duck, pheasants, game hens, and whatnot, there's some variety - but we've been there for a good chunk of time too. There's some promise with steaks since folks are learning that there is a lot you can do with meats in terms of the paleo diet... I'd expect to see some in-house aging, which you're seeing right now with the rise of the high end butchery shops. The problem with beef though, is it costs too much to be too popular - so realistically, we'll all stay on the pig, and more than likely all be eating breaded fried pigs cheeks like I used to do for family meal however many years ago I was cooking. This time though, we'll be eating it as the main course... I avoided talking about fish, because well, there are a mess of fishing issues which we're all going to be facing in the next few years - I guess I can say that maybe sardines and smelts are going to wind up being the big thing.

So, the chefs table was big, I'd suspect that will continue, but what we'll really see is the merge of the restaurant, the private chef, and the chef's table. Think of it as a high end cooking class in your home where the chef basically spends the night schmoozing with you, and letting you show off to friends how much you know about food and wine. It'll look vaguely like an episode of Jamie Oliver and folks will basically compete for the best private chef party...

For ingredients, I suspect we're going to see a resurgence of the egg. Really. Watch. Its a routinely forgotten station in the traditional french brigade, and there are a ton of tricks that that bring eggs forefront...
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:21 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sara C., you are right on the cupcake timing. Cedar Rapids, Iowa just got its cupcake bakery.
posted by Area Man at 8:24 PM on March 22, 2013


the whole "for yuppies" branded faux-cheapie taco/hot dog etc. + whiskey joint late at night thing was tried a couple years ago in Memphis (husband found it offensive in its cluelessly done cultural co-opting; i enjoyed the manifestation but agreed the marketing was kind of gross), and a new place attempting the same thing just opened up. kinda like big star in chicago.

the speakeasy thing, while fun sometimes, i think is being superceded by a general diffusion/spreading the word/movement towards that caliber of cocktail just being on all menus like normal the way mojitos and "martinis" were the last decade. i welcome this.

not what you asked, but as an aside i'd love to see pressure cookers become hipper (some people on the internet are trying, sort of; that's how i found out about the new safer ones) and i never liked sous vide so it'd be nice to see that become passe. /grumpygus

there was a thread on another site a while ago where bartenders were asked what they thought was going out and what was coming in, and pretty much all of my favorite things (rhubarb, whiskey, gin, bitters, amari, herbsaint, infusions) were declared out and things i have no interest in (carbonation/tanks/inhalation) deemed up and coming. bummed me out for half a second then i realized it would actually be kind of a relief, i could have back my timeless favorites (got into gin and whiskey classics from my grandparents and dad) without people thinking i was just generically hip/trying to be cool. i feel the same way about bacon and pork; it'll be nice when we can go back to just appreciating it as we always have without accusations of internet nerdery or food blogosphere sheeplism...
posted by ifjuly at 8:24 PM on March 22, 2013


sorry, keep thinking of other stuff. as ingredients go, fennel (which, hey i'm not complaining). we were in new orleans last week and i swear every damn thing everywhere we went had fennel in it, drinks and food.

and vegan-and-proud-and-fucking-delicious (not just sprouts and underseasoned lentil mush) places. that's not brand new (bleeding heart! and places in europe, on our honeymoon 4 years ago, seemed miles ahead back then) but i feel like it's finally gaining traction in a widespread way--if frickin' memphis has a buncha spots, including a new vegan drive-thru (!), you know it's catching on.
posted by ifjuly at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2013


Gyoza.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:17 PM on March 22, 2013


foodie buffets, ie gourmet salad bars.
posted by drobot at 10:11 PM on March 22, 2013


(Also anyone claiming that Vietnamese has "always" been a thing in New Orleans is full of it or maybe hasn't lived there long. I said something to my dad about how there should be a Banh Mi booth at Jazzfest in like 2006 and he looked at me like I had three heads. We are born and bred South Louisiana, too.)

What? C'mon, Pho Tau Bay had opened locations in Mid-City and downtown on Tulane years before Katrina, and the Vietnamese population on the west bank and in New Orleans East has been there since before you and I were even born. I'm not saying that Vietnamese influence has been visible on every high-end restaurant menu but it's been readily available for decades.
posted by komara at 10:35 PM on March 22, 2013


I live in Michigan, and I'd say farm-to-table is too well established to be the next big thing, at least here.

I think the donuts/Popsicles/sliders trend is part of a larger tendency to take previously humble food and make it "artisanal" (although, sorry, it's not a slider if its not slathered in onions and dripping in grease. It's a mini sandwich). However, since I remember visiting a fancy donut place in New York years ago, and we're seeing these trends in Detroit now (not necessarily fancy donuts, but definitely the rest), that's probably established, too.

Also, ethnic populations can throw off trends. Metro Detroit has had ton of Ararbic restaurants for at least 20 years. Are we super hip? No, we just have a large Middle Eastern population.

I'd check out Serious Eats New York and see what they're buzzing about.
posted by Tall Telephone Pea at 6:46 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fancy donuts seem to be trending up.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on March 23, 2013


Oh and in the last 6? years every hip new place has featured food straight out of 1913 German luncheon, lots of cured meats, fussy sauerkraut, pickled everything, mustards, terrine, beets, etc.

Basically if it could have been served in a fancy pullman rail car, it's on the menu.
posted by The Whelk at 2:29 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, charcuterie and pickle platters are pretty saturated. Would that it was choucroute instead.
posted by ifjuly at 4:06 PM on March 23, 2013


I keep running into poutines (often as an extension of frites), BUT their success seems dependent on being able to get fresh cheese curds. I've seen places try to do it with aged cheddar and it doesn't seem to catch on.

The next poutine will be raclette.

I'm hoping the next trend will be like a place I ate at in Taiwan that had big knee-high concrete tanks full of some kind of crayfish, and they would scoop them out and cook them fresh right there.
posted by drwelby at 5:07 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, look, I understand that I am late to this thread, but Minneapolis has had banh mi at least as long as I've lived here - so that would be, like, since 1997, courtesy of Vietnamese people living here. Banh mi is just one of life's eternal sandwich verities - you might as well say that the turkey club is the next big thing. And artisan donuts? Come and gone - the Donut Coop folded a few months ago. (Before that, we lost the much lamented Lone Donut downtown, but it wasn't hip at all.) I'm not sure we're that much behind the coasts - it's more that this is a smaller city that's not part of a big metropolitan axis, so it's not like we can support fifty squillion food trucks.

I think vegan restaurants are a next big thing - there's a cultural polarization between all those everything-but-the-squeal people and the health food crowd, and regular vegetarianism just seems vieux jeux. (Which is sad, actually.) Sadly, this seems to mean vegan-versions-of-non-vegan-things (vegan "chicken"; vegan reubens; a substance known as sheese which purports to be an artisan vegan cheese substitute) instead of actual original vegan dishes. (I typed sadly, since only last night I ate a fancy panini laden with slices of field roast imitating your basic pastrami and - sin of sins! - had a bite of a real pastrami sandwich, and the real pastrami just mopped the floor with the fake. There are many rich and subtle dishes which are vegan, but fake meats are fake meats.)
posted by Frowner at 2:30 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minneapolis has had banh mi at least as long as I've lived here - so that would be, like, since 1997, courtesy of Vietnamese people living here

That's different from the "food trend" phenomenon.

Los Angeles has presumably had amazing authentic Mexican food since the city's founding, and taco trucks have probably been ubiquitous here forever. But that doesn't mean that upscale regional Mexican, taquerias, and Mexican fusion food trucks aren't a trend in New York City. (They are.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:50 PM on March 24, 2013


Oh yeah, another up-and-coming trend, to replace the fill-it-yourself frozen yoghurt joints: ice cream made-to-order by blending base mix and flavors/inclusions with liquid nitrogen.

It will probably do about as well as Dippin' Dots. I wouldn't base a business around liquid nitrogen.

There might be some other "molecular gastronomy" spin-offs in the works too - maybe something at the intersection of gelled pearls and boba tea.
posted by drwelby at 8:07 AM on March 25, 2013


People in London seem to be really into 'posh' fried chicken now - but I think a lot of that is because London is saturated with takeaway fried chicken shops (cheap, halal, open late).

I've also noticed a lot of companies selling 'food kits' - pre-prepared ingredients which one buys at a commuter station to cook at home, sold as a kind of healthier takeaway alternative.

We just got Chipotle here last year, it doesn't seem to be that popular yet.
posted by mippy at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2013


ice cream made-to-order by blending base mix and flavors/inclusions with liquid nitrogen

We've had that here for a while as well, but like many things that are big in London, the rest of the country sees it as a bit wanky.
posted by mippy at 10:38 AM on March 26, 2013


I wanted to come back and give some specifics from my foodie experience in NYC/Brooklyn and Los Angeles. I spend essentially no time outside major coastal cities, so can't tell you what is already there vs. what isn't, but hopefully this is helpful.

the merge of the restaurant, the private chef, and the chef's table. Think of it as a high end cooking class in your home where the chef basically spends the night schmoozing with you, and letting you show off to friends how much you know about food and wine.

To me, this is the clear next trend to explode (without the cooking class part). I did it for the first time at a place in Philly where ten people sat in a studio apartment eating amazing food cooked by the schmoozing chef about ten years ago. I'd never heard of it prior.

It's huge in Los Angeles, and you generally get in with a lottery and dine with a group of other people. I recommend checking out Wolvesden as a key example. A totally amazing meal (2nd best meal I've probably had after per se) in a relaxing home atmosphere and the chef is friendly and awesome. This is likely an extension of the private chef for celebrities (hence very popular in LA, also a place you can have ten people around a table in an apartment).

Home cooking elevated in general - best example is Ad Hoc in Napa. Also fast food elevated (shake shack, etc.)

Artisanal meat in general (snout to hoof etc. I think that's out there everywhere) - I prefer Animal in LA. Game meats etc. I notice are more mainstream on many menus lately.

Korean and Asian fusion of all types (though this has been going on forever, there's a slightly new wave in LA right now). I would check out Roy Choi as the most influential chef in this arena.

Microtrend note - I've had two artisanal pickle platters as an app at restaurants in Brooklyn and LA over the last few weeks (Rye in Williamsburg, A-frame in Culver City). The pickled plums at A-frame were incredible.

French Macaroons seem to be trying hard to be the next dessert trend, but I'm not sure it's working. Donuts are still big, and honestly I still see tons of different varieties of cupcakes out there (Baked by Melissa, alcoholic flavored cupcakes at a place called Prohibition). Momofuku Milk Bar does crazy desserts, might be worth looking at.

Omakase, chef's menus, and small plates are enduring.
posted by rainydayfilms at 8:15 AM on April 21, 2013


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