Experts predict 2011 food and restaurant trends

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Pie tops the list of food trends to expect in 2011
Restaurant consulting firm Andrew Freeman of San Francisco has released its predictions for trends to watch for in food and restaurants in the coming year, as reported in the Detroit Free Press and elsewhere in the blogosphere. The company was right on with its 2010 predictions of multiple entree sizes (Il Gatto and Bar La Grassa are just two examples of local eateries that offer dishes in multiple portion sizes) and restaurants functioning doubly as art galleries (Northeast Social Club, anyone?), so we suspect they might be onto something with some of their predictions for 2011. Read on to see what may be coming to a restaurant near you.

Pie tops the list of expected trends for the new year. "If I had one trend of the year that I could predict, this would be the trend for pie," Freeman says. "I think that we're going to make room for pie shops in the next year." Just as cupcakes saw a meteoric rise from obscurity in the past year or two, pie better get ready to strap on its jet pack for 2011. "This is not just sweet pies, this is savory pies, bite-sized pies. They are even blended into milkshakes," he said. "I'll eat pie if I don't get this one right at the end of the year." Anchor Fish and Chips might be ahead of the curve on this one with its acclaimed shepherd's pie.

Another trend to watch for is new small, independently owned mom-and-pop-type operations run by friends and family members who are taking advantage of the attractive real estate market to follow their bliss and open restaurants. Hazel's Northeast springs to mind as a local example, which just opened its doors today.

Freeman expects soft-serve ice cream to emerge as a popular dessert in the coming year, an already hot new trend that Pizzeria Lola seems to have anticipated handily with its soft-serve vanilla ice cream with extra-virgin olive oil and fleur de sel.

Goat and lamb belly will proliferate as the price of pork belly continues to rise. Cosmos was first to the party on this one, but expect others to follow suit.

The Meatless Monday trend is catching on around the country as the fixation on local produce and relationships with the farms that provide it intensifies. National chain restaurant Big Bowl has latched on to the trend to highlight its new vegetarian menu.

Doubtlessly, trends will emerge in 2011 that we can't even begin to fathom now, but in the meantime, we're licking our lips and thinking about pie.


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