Urbanspoon, the leading mobile restaurant discovery application, today released the Top Dining Trends of 2013, a look at the biggest dining trends of the year, including which popular foods and chefs will remain hot throughout 2014, and which will fade out as we as we turn to the new year.
Based on a survey of some of the country’s leading food bloggers and critics, Urbanspoon’s 2013 Year in Review reflects America’s favorite food obsessions, including the most buzzed-about foods, styles, restaurant trends and chefs this year (think: Sriracha, cronuts and The Pioneer Woman).
So here’s what’s HOT…and what’s NOT, according to Urbanspoon…
Cronut is King
2013 was the year of the cronut, with the croissant/doughnut mash-up taking the top spot as the hottest food item of 2013, followed by two other slightly healthier carbs – ramen and quinoa. The top foods of 2013 include:
- Cronuts (39%)
- Ramen (34%)
- Quinoa (30%)
- Brussel Sprouts (22%)
- Anything smoked (16%)
Blazing the Condiment Trail
Sriracha’s fiery flavor dominated this year, with special menu items cropping up to showcase the popular sauce in both fine dining restaurants and fast food chains alike. Urbanspoon critics chose Sriracha as the “hottest” condiment of the year, with 37% anointing it their go-to topping. And, with its production halted possibly until to the end of January, people will be clamoring for that signature kick well into 2014.
Reigning Celebrity Chefs
Americans can’t get enough of their favorite celebrities and A-list chefs are no exception. Some mainstays never go out of style, including Alton Brown (40%), Mario Batali (39%) and Bobby Flay (34%), while 2013 also saw new stars, like Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond (14%), on the rise. Other celeb chefs, whose cooking shows helped cement their popularity, in 2013 include:
- Anthony Bourdain (22%)
- Gordon Ramsay (14%)
- Alexandra Guarnaschelli (13%)
The California ban on foie gras may be starting to take hold in the rest of the country but that doesn’t necessarily signal an increase in leafy greens, as critics have also grown tired of 2013’s vegetable du jour – kale. Food items on their way out in 2014 include:
- Foie Gras (33%)
- Kale (27%)
- Trotters (Pig’s Feet) (20%)
- Octopus (20%)
- Juicing (14%)
Meatless Monday is the trend that most Urbanspoon critics (33%) say has jumped the shark. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that 70% of respondents reported bacon is the food item that never goes out of style. Nouveau Vietnamese followed the weekly vegetarian-only day as a fading trend (20%), so don’t expect as many new Vietnamese eateries to pop up in 2014.
Butter Won’t Make it Better
Who are Urbanspoon’s critics sick of seeing in the culinary world? Paula Deen leads the way with 60% of respondents, which should come as no surprise given her tumultuous year. Who follows in her footsteps? Some of TV’s more polarizing personalities, from domestic diva Martha Stewart to the bleached blonde host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives:
- Paula Deen (60%)
- Rachael Ray (57%)
- Martha Stewart (54%)
- Guy Fieri (44%)
No Fees Please
2013 saw service charges creating controversy, with the growth in online restaurant reservations leading to greater cancellations without notice, hurting restaurants’ bottom line. While restaurants do their best to confirm times through phone calls and other methods, it’s not surprising that many eateries are testing out new policies to combat this problem, including making patrons prepay in order to reserve a spot.
However, Urbanspoon found that 74% of respondents would not eat at a restaurant with a pre-payment requirement, so don’t expect this to create a major barrier to reservations in the New Year. 60% of respondents also thought it was a bad idea for restaurants to move from voluntary tipping to required 20 percent service charges.