The End of The Trend?

   By ChefErin  Jun 08, 2011

I just read an article by Greg Morabito on regarding 10 NYC Dining Trends that are officially dead. His list included:

  • 10) Old Time Decor - restaurants decorated with dark wood, eclectic antiques and taxidermy animals
  • 9) Growlers - take-home jugs of beer that you refill at your local brewery
  • 8) Discount Fine Dining - nice restaurants trying to fill slow hours with specials
  • 7) Speakeasies - "secret" bars and restaurants
  • 6) Tiki Bars - featuring kitschy rum drinks and puu-puu platters
  • 5) Asian Sandwiches - like Vietnamese Banh Mi
  • 4) Gastropubs - pub grub with an upscale twist
  • 3) Tiny Menus - featuring only a handful of appetizers and entrees
  • 2) Pies are the new cupcakes - you get the idea...
  • 1) American Comfort Food - like mom made, only better

As I read the list, I must admit that a few items caught me by surprise but, I’m in Seattle, a totally different food scene. I don’t see much Old Time Decor in the restaurants here outside of the standard steakhouses, so I could agree that that is passé. On the other hand, one of the first "welcome to Seattle" gifts we received was a Growler. I didn’t really use it and don’t see that many but then again, I’m not much of a beer drinker. Maybe it’s still hot?  

Discount fine dining, I don’t know about the rest of the country but that’s still here. There are plenty of great restaurants featuring small plates, pre-fixe meals and specials. With the recent news about the economy, I don’t see that trend going away any time soon. 

Tiki Bars and Speakeasies never really popped up en masse. However we do have quite a few Gastropubs. I think they fit the personality of this city. Good quality food, creative but still recognizable, and a beer or a glass of wine on the side - yeah, that still works. Honestly, I feel that way about American Comfort Food, too. I’m not ready to say good-bye to that. I really think it’s an American standard, the heartland will never be tired of mac-n-cheese or pot roast. Am I right? 

Asian sandwiches, well, perhaps it’s our proximity to Asia on the West Coast but they are still pretty popular around here. I often see menus that include Banh Mi or some other Asian-inspired sandwich like Marination Mobile’s Ahola Sliders.  

Tiny menus, I have to agree with that one. I’ve seen a number of places try that and fail. I think the tiny menu is tough. You’ve got diverse tastes, food allergies and cravings to deal with. It’s tough to please everyone with just a few choices.  

Pies as the new cupcake, well, we have a few pie shops but they’ve never rivaled the popularity of cupcake bakeries. Part of the charm of cupcakes is their portability. You can eat them anywhere and you don’t need a utensil. That’s hard to beat even with the tastiest pie.  

So, I wondered what the rest of the country might be like. Are they just drafting on the tailwind of New York? Have you experienced these trends in your part of the country? Have they run their course or are they just taking off? What’s hot and what’s not where you live?

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ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
Jun 22, 2011

GG_Shopper - Great summation! Thanks for the comment. ~ Chef Erin

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Jun 10, 2011

I'm noticing more upscale restaurants pairing up with with Opera Houses and live theaters for one flat fee (dinner, ticket, come back for dessert). Some restaurants are even offering free valet to and from restaurant and theater eliminating need to repark car multiple times & repaying parking fees . One hotel in the Arts District is also includes a nights stay.

GG_shopper by GG_shopper | GRAHAM, NC
Jun 09, 2011

Observing through the years, it seems that trends come and go. For awhile it was Italian (spaghetti, etc.) and then it was Asian; but the American "diner" still thrived. Then it was steaks of every slice and dice. You had high end restaurants touting the tastiest steak at a price that really broke the bank, and you had your "Western" steak houses. Then the Mediterranean diet and health consciousness came into play. To make that work, you had to serve it up in all types of trendy dishes - pasta, rice, veggie, meatless, with meat, with dairy but no meat, etc. It had to have Italian flair or it had to have Asian ethnic authenticity. But the bottom line is, plain food, simply cooked is always the one that warms the cockles of your heart and satisfies that hunger in your tummy. Bring on the veggies, mashed potatoes, and roast beef or roast chicken. And please, don't forget those homemade rolls. Of course, finish it all off with a slice of American Apple Pie.

hypnicjerk by hypnicjerk | Seattle, WA
Jun 09, 2011

Thanks for this blog. I like the idea of knowing what trends there are throughout the US. I, too, live in WA. I pretty much agree with you acrossed the board. I feel very fortunate to be in such a "culinary" culture here. I LOVE food - especially good food!

charlottesmum by charlottesmum | Simpsonville, SC
Jun 08, 2011

I live in Greenville South Carolina...the "new" south...dieing out are the meat and two veg platters for the "commerical" chain restaurants...we are have the restaurant mile...Applebee's. Chili's, Ruby Tuesday. Bonefish Grill, Friday's. Fuddruckers, Longhorn, Red Robin's and the list goes on!!!! The local mom - pop restaurant is gone......

Dowiebee by Dowiebee | Olney, MD
Jun 08, 2011

I live in the DC Metropolitan area and if you can't find something good and different around here, it's not to be found. I, however have learned to cook lighter over the recent years but in the winter time, some of the meals grandma made keep popping up. Flash back anyone?? ;-) Of course, in the summer we tend to eat lighter and then that sort of carries over in to the fall months. Cupcakes have become really big in this area - thank goodness I hate sweets. I know, I know.....but, I never bake or eat the stuff.

Peemahill by Peemahill | Jefferson, PA
Jun 08, 2011

I live in the heartland where mac and cheese and hot meat loaf dinners and country fried steak are still favorites on the menu. There are a lot of little cafes and restaurants here by the Mon river which serve plenty of down home meals for those who care little about watching their waistlines.