Pies Expected to Top 2011 Restaurant Trends List

Pies are predicted to be the top restaurant trend in 2011, according to Andrew Freeman & Co., a California consultancy.  The emergence of pies, both sweet and savory, as a top trend in 2011, follows on the heels of the current cupcake trend. 

Andrew Freeman of Andrew Freeman & Co. notes that some restaurants are showcasing their wide variety of pies during "Pie Happy Hour" events.  In addition, restaurants are also creating bite-​sized pies and even blending pies into milkshakes.

Other trends predicted for 2011 by Freeman include:

The new mom and pop. Self-​financed restaurants built on limited budgets are growing in number. The restaurants are typically small and the owners are extremely involved.

•  One-​ingredient restaurants. Restaurateurs are building their business around one key ingredient, such as gourmet hamburgers.  Freeman predicts the trend to extend to grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and sliders.

•  Mini plates. Mini is expected to be the new buzz word in 2011 — mini portions, mini desserts, etc.  Consumers still want to sample and experience as much as possible and 'mini' fits into consumers' tighter budgets.

•  Dirt. Abandoning sauces, some chefs are turning to dried, crumbled, powdered ingredients to add texture and flavor.

•  Hearth-​healthy. Wood-​fired ovens will be used to roast vegetables and larger cuts of meat and whole animals.

Fried vegetables. Once-​obscure vegetables are getting the crisp treatment with such items as fried Brussels sprouts, fried cauliflower and turnip chips.

Soft-​serve. Chefs are using soft-​serve ice cream machines to produce savory flavors as well as more exotic flavors.

Popsicles. Similar to the soft-​serve trend, iced treats are showing up in flavors such as sugar-​snap pea.

Yogurt. It will show up as sun-​dried, freeze-​dried, smoked and pressed and in imported variations such as skyr from Iceland and labne from Lebanon.

In a addition, Freeman anticipates that meal options in 2011 will be influenced by popular ingredients such as:

  • Pimento cheese. Smooth, spreadable, spicy and nostalgic.
  • Smoking. Smoked olive oil, cumin and butter.
  • Hummus. In sauces, spreads and ingredients.
  • Popcorn. In various courses.
  • Pretzels. Pretzel sticks and used as a crust.
  • Honey. Chefs are developing partnerships with local beekeepers for use in sauces and dressings.
[Source:  Rugless, Ron.  "Pies top 2011 restaurant trend list."  Nation's Restaurant News.  21 Oct. 2010.  Web.  1 Nov. 2010.]