Check Out Next Year’s Hot Restaurant Trends

By Rieva Lesonsky

The eagerly-awaited annual predictions from restaurant and hospitality consulting firm af&co. are out, and as usual it’s a fascinating read. The report, Do the Right Thing: Stand for What You Believe In, reported in Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), reflects af&co. founder Andrew Freeman’s view that, “The industry is speaking up about equal rights, food waste, health and wellness, and much more. There’s a lot to be hopeful about in 2019.”

Here are some of the trends NRN says stand out:

Georgian cuisine is the “Cuisine of the Year” for 2019. No, not the Southern state, but the Eurasian nation. Georgian foods, like khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread boat topped with a runny egg (also named “Dish of the Year”), have already been appearing on restaurant menus, the report says.

Since I would never eat anything topped with a runny egg, I’m going to skip straight to the “Dessert of the Year.” While artisanal donuts are not new anymore, af&co. says donuts are rising to a new level “with unexpected savory flavors and fillings.”

Also not new, but still hugely popular: hummus. Look for “hummus milkshakes, chickpea fries, Snickerdoodle hummus, and green chickpea guacamole,” the report says.

Wine is still in—but those newly in demand hail from Georgia (the Eurasian nation) and South Africa or are made from Lambrusco grapes. Also popular: hot nitro coffee, carbonated coffee, mushroom tea, cheese tea, high-alcohol kombucha, aloe liqueur and sake cocktails.

Other food trends of note:

  • Pittsburgh is the “Food City of the Year.”
  • Straws made from pasta are being pushed as a sustainable option to plastic.
  • Restaurants and bars are getting creative with plating, serving food in lightbulbs and milk cartons, on shovels and on beds of rocks.
  • Flex-casual eateries (restaurants that are full-service at night, but offer counter service during the day) are hot.
  • Perhaps most important: Carbs are back!

Khachapuri stock photo by Timolina/Shutterstock