February 17th, 2020

January 2020 New Menu Items

Posted in New Foods and Flavors, Restaurants

Let’s See What New Menu Items Launched January 2020

New Menu Items January 2020

Here we are at the end of January, so you know what that means, New Menu Items!

Please, please, let’s hold the cheers and applause. I get it, I’m just as excited as you are, but there’s work to do.

January has flown by, but not without a few new menu items rolling out nationwide. We like to stay on top of these new items for you so you can monitor what’s happening in food trends on a national level and adjust accordingly.

So, without further ado, let’s see what’s hot!

New Menu Items – January 2020

Outside of the continued expansion of plant-based meats on national menus, the following items don’t have much in common. In the past, we’ve seen commonalities on new menu item roll-outs, like Chicken or BBQ. This month, it’s a little more scattershot.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of chicken in this lineup, but different forms and contexts. It doesn’t quite match up.

Taco John’s

New Menu Items January 2020

Image thanks to tacojohns.com

Taco John’s released their new Taco Perfecto line this month. What makes it “Perfecto?” The crunchy shell is extra-long, smaller in profile, and designed to offer you a mix of every ingredient in every bite. Say goodbye to the classic two-bite taco.

The Chipotle Chicken Perfecto combines diced chicken, Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and a creamy sauce made with smoky chipotle puree. I can get behind that.

Taco Bell

January 2020 New Menu Items

Image courtesy of businessinsider.com.

The creative geniuses at Taco Bell are at it again with their new Buffalo Chicken Nacho Fries. It’s no surprise these masters of craveability put this combination together.

Piggybacking on the huge popularity of the nacho fries, this dish is loaded. Seasoned, shredded chicken, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, and a spicy buffalo sauce are piled high over their crispy flagship nacho fries. There’s no doubt the late-night drive through lines are going to be packed full for this item.

Famous Dave’s

Jan 2020 New Menu Items

Image courtesy of startribune.com.

Famous Dave’s is going full Southern comfort on us with Iris’ Comeback Chicken Sandwich.

This tasty devil features a crispy chicken filet brushed with smoky BBQ sauce and topped with their famous spicy pickles and a new creamy Comeback sauce. This sandwich is inspired by a recipe passed down from Dave’s mother. The real question is, how many times will you come back for a bite?

Donato’s Pizza

New Menu Items January 2020

Image courtesy of citybeat.com.

Cauliflower pizza crusts have arrived at Donatos Pizza! Yes, you heard that right. All you keto lifestylers and hidden veggie fans now have a new best friend in the Ohio-based chain.

Not only are the crusts available, but they come in three new builds: Bruschetta, Garden, and Heat. All feature the delicious Donatos red sauce, smoked provolone cheese, and, most importantly, a flavorful plant-based sausage.

Just another reason to love the folks over at Donatos.

Check Please!

That covers it for the January 2020 New Menu Items. Follow along with us to keep updated with what’s happening in the food and beverage industry every month.

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February 3rd, 2020

All Hail the Gastropub

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Gastro-Pub

2020 Looks to be the Year of the Gastropub

Gastropub

On a previous blog we discussed the Fastest Growing Restaurant Concepts in America, one of which being the gastropub (or brewpub). Here we are now in 2020, and it looks as if gastropubs are still on track to be one of, if not the, fastest growing concepts.

While this is all well and good, I really wanted to know why America has such a fascination with the gastropub. Sure, they offer food and drink, much like most bars and restaurants. They also promote hearty socialization and interaction, but that’s not uncommon in the F&B industry either. So why do we love them so much? The answer, I believe, lies in the menu.

The Best Gastropubs in the U.S.

Recently, USA Today released its list of the Reader’s Choice 10 Best Brewpubs in the U.S. These brewpubs span the country from San Diego to Maine, and Chicago to Colorado. What this gives us is a terrific cross-section of guests voting on what are essentially their favorite foods.

So, I thought it would be prudent to review the menus from all these award-winning gastropubs and see what they have in common (aside from beer). The answer? Quite a bit.

Trends

Gastropub food

All the brewpubs that made the 10 Best list are covering multiple food trends, many of which we’ve covered right here on our blog. From smoke & BBQ, to decadent poutines, and a ubiquitous inclusion of Asian flavors and flatbreads. The trends drive the menus, which in turn bring the guests.

The chef-driven style and flavor impartiality of these establishments showcase a unique ability to change with, and even drive, food trends. Customers of gastropubs tend to be willing to take more risks, try new foods, and be curious about things they haven’t had before. If that wasn’t their nature, they wouldn’t be going to a place brewing their own unique, small-batch brewed beers.

Bold Flavors

So, we see up-to-date trends represented with unapologetic bounty in gastropubs, but as we know, that doesn’t matter if the food is bland or dull. That’s the next common trait for these eateries: big, bold flavors.

Across the menus you’ll find items like Gastropub TrendsFresno chili sauce, beer-based BBQ sauces, bulgogi, gochujang, smoked buffalo, and Nashville hot sauce. These come in a variety of applications such as flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, wraps, wings, fries, vegetables, and others.

The point is this, brewpubs are using powerful flavors, often by way of sauces, to deliver unique and captivating dishes to their guests. It seems to be working, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about this steady rise in popularity.

Personally, I’m dying to try the beer-brined house-smoked wings slathered in beer BBQ sauce at 18th Street Brewery.

Kids Menus

Gastropub food

Image courtesy of ptaourchildren.org

Yes, I know this seems out of left field, but actually, I think it’s quite telling. While gastropubs may be craft beer-driven, they’re also positioning themselves as family-focused eateries.

This recognition of the younger crowd certainly allows more flexibility for patrons. The destruction of the brewpub’s “bar” stigma means they have become acceptable for family-dining. This opens access to a broader demographic of parents with children to patronize the gastropub without needing a babysitter.

Also, these kids’ menus are not just afterthoughts. They are well-thought out with familiar items like grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken tenders, and quesadillas, but elevated with items like pulled pork, brioche buns, and house-made mustard. Even kids are getting a it more experimental these days, but let’s hold off on the heirloom tomato aspic for now.

Gastropubs, the New Home of Innovation

There’s no doubt in my mind gastropubs will continue to rise in popularity over 2020. Their creativity, trend-focused execution, and welcoming atmosphere make them a perfect venue for guests of all ages and backgrounds.

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