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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November 18th, 2019

Does Poutine Belong on Your Menu?

Posted in Food Trends, Tips

Poutine is a Vehicle for Flavor and Revenue

Poutine Recipes

Have you considered adding poutine options to your menu? Perhaps you should.

Poutine is a Canadian staple consisting of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. But it can be so much more! You can slather your fries in an array of sauces, condiments, and garnishes. Not only is poutine a clear fan favorite, it’s a great way to cross-utilize and up-sell.

The word “poutine” itself has many different meanings and derivatives, but it’s a commonly accepted Québécois slang word meaning “mess.” And when it comes to fries, a hot mess is really a good thing. And, if you worry that your customers just won’t get poutine, you can always opt for calling them “dirty fries.”

So, let’s look beyond chili cheese and see how else you can drive sales with smothered French fries.

Unique Poutine Ideas

Pizza Poutine

Pizza Poutine

Let’s start off the list with an absolute crowd pleaser.

Everyone loves fries and everyone loves pizza, so why not combine them? Smother your crispy French fries with a smoky fire roasted tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and savory pepperoni. Finish it with some briny slices of pepperoncini peppers, fresh grated Parmesan, and an Italian herb mix. This is a can’t miss up-sell.

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Buffalo csauce

It’s football season and what’s better with the game than savory buffalo chicken wings? How about buffalo chicken poutine?

Top your papas with a dash of celery salt and a heap of shredded chicken blended with Ragin’ Red Buffalo sauce. Garnish with a drizzle of Ranch dressing, feta cheese, and loads of sliced green onions. There’s no way your mouth isn’t watering right now.

Smoky Mexican Poutine

Mexican Poutine

Now let’s really turn up the heat.

Top your fries with savory ground beef, melted cheddar cheese, or better yet, creamy queso then hit it with a generous drizzle of smoky chipotle sauce. Add some sour cream to cool things off and finish with chopped green onion ripe tomato, and cilantro. How could that not sell?!

Korean Poutine

Korean Poutine

Don’t sleep on the Korean flavor craze. It’s holding on strong, and with that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to Asian-up your poutine either.

Here let’s opt for pulled pork on top of the fries with a liberal splash of sweet and savory gochujang BBQ sauce. Skip the dairy on this build and instead hit it with some spicy kimchi, fresh green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Guaranteed to knock your socks off!

Endless Possibilities

We’ve just given you a few ideas of how poutine can liven up your menu. These French fry dishes work as a great way to up-sell a staple menu item and cross utilize existing ingredients. Use your imagination (as well as your pantry) and see what craveable concoctions you can create.

Cheers!

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