IN THIS ISSUE CHASING GEN Z JUICING SUCCESS BEYOND TACO TUESDAY
Elevating Chicken Dinner METROCOOKING D.C. PLANT-BASED IDEAS THE DAILY DISH Q&A WINNING SALADS MAGAZI NE. EATERPYLSE. TV
EATERY PULSE NEWS
EDITOR'S NOTE Summer is heating up the city, but it will be gone before you know it. Many restaurants are working at full pace, enjoying a good swath of summertime business in the nation’s capital. Mission, a Mexican restaurant & bar with 18 taps for all sort of adult beverages, 8,000 feet of draft lines and 10,000 square feet of space just opened in Navy Yard—its limited-menu, limited-seating debut was the result of a race to open in time for the MLB All Stars Baseball Week and it was a big news story when it did. According to the Washington Business Journal, it was also helped by the D.C. Mayor’s Office checking in on the project and on the permitting, and by precise scheduling and a purposeful will to open on time. From Navy Yard to the Waterfront, back to the NoMa and Shaw neighborhoods, this city is booming, surrounded by a renown food scene. We were honored to be invited to cover the RAMMYS 2018 this year. Next year, I will not be working with the camera crew, but will opt to be a bystander, because this is such a joyous event to take in and share with other attendees with undivided attention. The revelry that arises during the awards event, and afterward, is quite unparalleled until you experience it live. And I want to get all decked out, and party, too. Check out page 14 for the video.. (You can watch the video without leaving the magazine, which is a benefit of Eatery Pulse Media having fully-video-integrated magazines for all our publication labels.) This is part of a RAMMYS series we’ll be posting on Swizzle Chill TV, our web-broadcast channel. A national backdrop to Washington, D.C.’s success is a very challenging environment across the country in nearly all markets. Restaurants must not only navigate the
JUICING SUCCESS D.C. juiceries find a
sweetspot with consumers seeking healthy
A TWIST ON SALAD EXPERIENCE A few twists on salads
can up the excitement factor
RAMMYS 2018: DAILY DISH The Daily Dish co-owner
Zena Polin talks about her Silver Spring awardwinning restaurant
PLANT-BASED TRENDS Restaurants can find easy ways to add plant-based options and blends
CHASING GEN Z The all-digital generation
is here. Understand first, then engage for success.
ELEVATING CHICKEN DISHES Restaurants in the D.C.
area find innovative ways to offer the best of this
The 2018 show is coming in December with an allstar lineup, including Chiko's Scott Drewno
BEYOND TACO TUESDAY Emerging Mexican dishes
are taking menus way beyond Taco Tuesday
BEST BARBECUE The Washington Post puts out its best BBQ list
challenges of rising labor costs, seasonal food, fuel spikes, and labor shortages, but also the popularity of digital ordering and offpremise food popularity. In fact, this was a trend we called out at the beginning of the year. Since then, GrubHub has acquired LevelUp, a digital engagement, marketing and gamification technology company. Furthermore, technology companies Olo and Punchh continue to bring digital ordering and marketing to countless restaurant chains, integrating mobile commerce with the restaurants’ pointof-sale systems and loyalty marketing solutions, as they are doing with Teriyaki Madness, a fast-casual chain with Asian-inspired, customizable bowls.
For many customers, especially the youngest ones, the mobile app and website are the new “restaurant entrance” and the best restaurant dinners are had with a homemade cocktail in front of a 80+ inch TV. Restaurant owners won’t buck the trend, rather they need to take advantage of it with the realization that their competitors are already jumping into the off-premise world. CAVA, &pizza, Sweetgreen, and Rasa have made a name for themselves in the D.C. area and are also an example of a “fastcasual” restaurant. This is the only segment, currently that is growing its traffic count within the restaurant industry nationally. Gen Z adults, the youngest of Millennials and those with salaries over $100,000 are the biggest fans of these types of chains. My point is that the the digital realm is critical to restaurants. I would argue that, right now, technology and convenience, easily exemplified by fast casuals, should be the areas of biggest focus and investment by any restaurant company in the D.C. area looking to succeed, regardless of segment. Convenience is a big part of this winning formula. Convenience can be integrated into operations through a comprehensive strategy for off-premise sales. Will you offer delivery? Will you outsource it? How many orders from third-party services can your kitchen handle? Are people finding you online? Are you using social media to help your customers place an order for dinner
tonight? Work with experts to write your own success story. That being said, our restaurant consultancy and content marketing and video production studio have gone national. Rebranded Studio Team + Arel7, they recently expanded video production services to include drone video and 360 video as we broaden our specialized solutions for clients. Studio Team already offers 4K UHD production and is behind our Swizzle Chill TV web-broadcast series. We are in the process of moreclosely integrating with our services as we expand our content portfolio nationally. Restaurant C-Suite Magazine, our first national foodservice publication is just around the corner. We look forward to continuing to democratize foodservice content and services and reach more restaurant companies as we grow. Its with the most sincere gratitude that I remember and thank all influencers in the area who encouraged us to launch what is now, evidently, the leading D.C.-centric trade publication for Washington, D.C.-area restaurant operators and for prompting us to revamp our popular, web-broadcast video show Swizzle Chill TV. Thanks again.
TEAM Ashley McCarty, Design Consultant Rick Zambrano, Executive Editor Sean Cooper, Swizzle Chill TV Director
WRITERS Sonikka Loganathan Eric Nomis Max Testa Roshan Thomas
Eatery Pulse News, the leading
Our print edition has been scheduled for winter 2019. Free subscription information to be revealed in our next issue. Catch our retro format in January.
D.C.-centric trade publication for restaurant operators in the Washington, D.C. market, is published four times per year, going to print during winter of 2019. Sign up at subscribe.eaterypulse.tv. Eatery Pulse Media also publishes Swizzle Chill and Restaurant CSuite Magazine.
GLUTEN-FREE BOWL, PHOTO COURTESY JO SONN
SOUTH BLOCK TROPI-KALE SMOOTHIE. PHOTO COURTESY SOUTH BLOCK.
BY NIKKITA LAWRENCE; PHOTOS BY LEE COOPER
JUICING SUCCESS SONIKKA LOGANATHAN
hether you need a quick refreshment or a way to easily get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, fresh juice and smoothies can quench any kind of thirst you have. As the demand for healthier options that use fresher ingredients increases, the demand for traditional boxed juices and bottled smoothies is on the decline. According to Euromonitor, a global market research firm, American consumers bought 4 billion gallons of packaged juice in 2012, but by 2017, that number fell to 530 million gallons. According to
an article in Food Navigator last August, there has been a general negative perception around sugar and sugary beverages in the United States and around the world. That has left the door open for healthier options, including natural fruit smoothies and coldpressed juices. In the D.C. area, a place that is filled with health-conscious consumers, it isnâ€™t hard to find cute juice and smoothie bars, filled with kale and bananas, for the on-the-go professional or the thirsty athlete straight out of the gym. A common theme among these juice bars is what makes their juices taste so good:
fresh, oftentimes organic, and locally-sourced
whether it’s cold-pressed juice or an acai bowl.
Each item uses fresh ingredients and is made with the consumer’s needs in mind.
A must-stop juice shop is South Block Juice, located in Georgetown, with several other
Puree Juice Bar is another D.C.-based business
locations across the city. The Founder and
that creates delicious, cold-pressed, organic
CEO, Amir Mostafavi, thought that healthy food
and unpasteurized juices. With three locations
and drink options were lacking in D.C. “I
in the area—Mosaic District, Bethesda Row and
wanted to have fresh and healthy smoothies
Sibley Hospital—consuming clean products is
and juices to go along with the mission of
an essential part of Puree Juice Bar’s vision.
building a healthier community. We do this both
“We believe in concentrated phyto-nutrients
through the food and experience,” he said.
without chemicals or pesticides,” according to the website. They also offer a variety of juice
Originally this was an idea that came about
cleanses for all your detoxing needs, which can
while Mostafavi was studying at George
also be made to order with assistance from the
Washington University, and he opened his first
Puree team, depending on your needs. All
shop in 2004. South Block finds that creating a
drinks are packaged in glass bottles,
community is an important part of the
maintaining crisp flavor and eliminating the
experience to “put no limits on people that are
harsh chemicals that are present in plastic.
seeking out positive energy and fresh and tasty
If you’re in D.C.’s City Center, Fruititive will give
food,” to make South Block as inclusive to all
you 100 percent plant-based, organic, kosher
demographics and age groups as possible. And
and sustainable juice, in par with its motto: “Live
the company doesn’t take any shortcuts when it
Your Health.” As the first certified Organic Fast
comes to making their products,
Casual Restaurant in North America, all juices
SOUTH BLOCK EAST FALLS CHURCH STORE
are made from scratch, using in-house ingredients. Unlike many other companies that use high-pressure processing (HPP) with their cold-pressed juices, Fruititive stays clear of anything that can reduce nutritional value. High-pressure processing “adds 60,000 lbs. of extra pressure to the juice after packaging, which not only deactivates microorganisms and live enzymes that would naturally decompose the juice over time, but also necessitates the use of harmful plastic packaging,” says the company’s website, further adding “HPP removes ingredients that decompose the juice, allowing for a longer shelf life, but it unfortunately also removes the original nutrients (that are present), as well. Fruititive’s juices stay fresh for the same amount of time as any other fruit or vegetable—about four to five days, On top of its juices,Fruitititive also offer bowls, overnight oats and other food
PHOTO COURTESY MISFIT JUICERY
options. In line with sustainability and the rise in
watermelon cubes.” Their juice mixes fresh fruit
sustainable eating and living is MISFIT Juicery.
flavors with leafy greens like spinach and kale,
Created to put “ugly” produce, or produce that
creating a power-packed refreshing and socially
is shaped and looks a little stranger, than their
conscious juice experience.
counterparts, into use, the idea originated on a college campus by students passionate about
National chains also offer a variety of healthy
food waste. When these ugly fruits and veggies
options. Robeks gives customers health boosts
aren’t bought in stores, they get thrown away,
like a wheatgrass shot and Joe and the Juice
resulting in food waste as well as monetary
offers juices, shakes, yogurts and coffee that
losses. MISFIT takes these unique pieces and
will have you set no matter the occasion.
creates delicious juice out of it. Their website
Several local community-based juice shops,
says, “all of our juice contains at least 70
aimed at catering to residents in the food
percent misfits—the oddball produce farmers
dessert parts of D.C. also create delicious and
can’t sell—and weird-looking scraps leftover
from manufacturers making carrot sticks or
EATERY PULSE NEWS | 8
ORGANIC TUSCAN KALE SALAD. PHOTO COURTESY TRUE FOOD KITCHEN.
Salad Experience WINNING WITH TWISTS ON SALADS
Salads aren’t just for dieters anymore. Consumers who are looking for healthier and functional dining options are adding salads to meals, or opting for salads as meals when dining out at restaurants. A few twists on salads can take them to the next level. The difference between a ‘salad” and a ‘bowl” can be in their size, and the amount of protein, rice or grain ingredients relative to greens and vegetables. In functionality, protein is a big winner and “protein bowls” have become more widespread. Tofu, chicken and beef can satisfy a protein craving, but so too can legumes and beans. Root vegetables are finding a bigger place at the table. Jicama, beets, yuca, kohlrabi, turnips and daikon are ingredients that can be used to liven up the flavor and texture of salads.
One can’t go wrong with adding cheese to select salads. Burrata, a semi-soft Italian cheese prepared with cream and curd, has been all the rage as of late and appears in many starters and salads. The Tomato Salad at Himitsu combines heirloom tomatoes, burnt herb sauce, wasabi soy vinaigrette, shiso, burrata and pine nuts. Manchego cheese, an aged cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain, has been growing on American consumers. Its firmness, combined with its creamy mouth texture, is a popular addition to salads. At True Food Kitchen, manchego cheese is added to the Grilled Chicken Salad, which already has a medley of juxtaposed flavors in its ingredients: medjool date, dried cranberry, jicama, apple, farro, marcona almond, and champagne vinaigrette.
At neighborhood spots and emerging chains, a variation on favorites can also be a winning strategy. At True Food Kitchen, the Tuscan Organic Kale Salad is elevated with grated Grana Padano Italian cheese that is hard and slowripened and similar to parmesan. Small tweaks to popular favorites can be enticing as menus change seasonally and there is room for experimentation. A lot of the appeal of menus can be found in the descriptors, as restaurateurs have known to be true for ages. Cheese mousse is a twist on cheese, typically made by blending cream, cheese and milk. Lyon Hall offers a Roasted Baby Beets salad, served with chèvre mousse.
Ancient grains and seeds
Sweet, tart, herbal and crunchy: The Curry Chickpea Bowl is the type of meal that diners will remember. Quinoa will see more share of menu in the winter months, as cold salads turn into warm salads, and bowls turn heartier. Farro, Barley and Buckwheat (not a grain, but adopted as one) have been growing on menus, according to a report from research and trend analysis firm Datassential. Millet and Barley are tried-and true ingredients for salads due to texture. Chia and pepita (pumpkin seeds) are widely-recognized, full of crunchiness and deep color, and are good additions to salads. Datassential notes that Chia is nutrient dense and has grown dramatically over the last few years. Chia still has room to grow on menus as it only has about a one-percent penetration. Pepita seeds are also nutritious and offer a way to provide texture and taste to salads.
Grains are turning many salads into meals in a bowl. Depending on the use of grains, they can inspire a whole new section on the menu, or simply make salads more hearty. “Everything old is now new.” That’s particularly accurate these days as consumers want to connect with the authenticity and story of food. Quinoa, which is not a grain, but a seed, is an example of an ingredient that can make a salad or dish more interesting. Not quite a protein bowl, and not quite a salad, The Curry Chickpea Bowl at Sweetgreen, is a hearty combination of chicken, nuts and vegetables. It features warm quinoa and hot chickpeas, shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, raisins, cilantro, toasted almonds, organic baby spinach and curry yogurt dressing. The bowl is more of a meal than a salad, but the ingredients can offer inspiration to other restaurants of fastcasual or sit-down heritage and service style. LYON HALL APPS AND ENTREES. PHOTO COURTESY LYON HALL.
PHOTOS COURTESY THE DAILY DISH (BOTTOM RIGHT.)
The Daily Dish
he DMV area is known for its vast variety of T restaurants, from lavish brunch getups to cafes
and fast casual eateries. Zena Polin is the coowner of Maryland restaurants The Daily Dish, in Silver Spring, and Kensington’s Dish & Dram, with Jerry Hollinger. She is also a renowned name among restaurateurs and food experts in the area. Her eateries are known for bringing farm fresh food, straight from Lancaster County’s produce auctions, to the table. The meals that they make are based off what produce is available and in season, making their dishes all the most vibrant and flavorful! This combination of comfort food and fresh ingredients is what truly sets them apart. On top of her two restaurants and catering ventures, Polin is also a writer and editor, specializing in all things food and wine. She is also well-traveled in Latin American and Caribbean culture and cuisine, adding a kick of flavor from the region, whenever possible. Polin spoke to Swizzle Chill TV at the RAMMYS and after the event. Here is an interview that will be published in Swizzle Chill Magazine.
DAILY DISH CO-OWNERS ZENA POLIN AND JERRY HOLLINGER AT THE RAMMYS.
Eatery Pulse News: First of all, how do you feel about winning the RAMMY Award for Favorite Gathering Place, selected by fans in the Metro-D.C. community, and what was it like to be recognized in front of your peers? Zena Polin: This is one of the most important and exciting wins for us! When we created The Daily Dish, we wanted it to be a place where the neighborhood would come together to eat, drink and gather. The guests in our restaurants have become friends and even family. This category is also publicly voted, which we think is important because it means the community decided we were their favorite gathering place.
PHOTO CREDIT: M.T. ROBINSON
EPN: What are three ingredients in your business recipe that made The Daily Dish the place it is? ZP: Our staff is the number one reason that we have been so successful. They have developed friendships with many of our customers. Some of our customers come five or six days a week! We
mix that in with fresh ingredients that we source as locally as possible. And then we focus on being creative with regular changes to our menus. When we started The Daily Dish, the concept was just to serve fresh dishes that changed daily to customers who would come in to get their daily dose of neighborhood news among friends. EPN: Customers talk about your brunch a lot. What do you do to keep it fresh and exciting? ZP: We have lots of specials at our brunch, depending on what is fresh and seasonal. We also like to keep it local, which means you’ll see Maryland Soft Shell BLT and Benedict in summer and Watermelon Strawberry Gazpacho when the fruit is at its juiciest. We also let our chefs make
dishes that are a reflection of their culture, so sometimes you’ll have Huevos Rancheros too. EPN: Please tell us about the dishes and drinks we can look forward to this summer. ZP: This summer is about farm fresh and local. This means Watermelon Salad, Maryland Soft Shell Crabs with Potato Salad and Succotash and Summer Ratatouille. Heirloom Tomatoes are next up, and we do beautiful dishes with them. Our sides are really a reflection of the season as we buy from local farms as well as from produce auction in Lancaster County. We also make fruit desserts based on the season, including a fruit crostata and a panna cotta with a seasonal fruit compote.
PHOTO CREDIT: M.T. ROBINSON
RAMMYS 2018 on
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plant-based trends According to research firm Datassential, more than one (1) in three (3) consumers eat a vegan meal at least once per week. Plant-based dining is something that continues to gain momentum as consumers seek foods that support a nutritious and wholesome life, embracing products that promote wellness and illness-mitigation. According to Chicagobased research firm NPD, about 43 million consumers “regularly use plantbased alternatives,” including almond milk, tofu, and veggie burgers. A 2017 report from the International Food Industry Council notes that more than 70 percent of consumers consider proteins from plants to be healthy. That number is the fourth highest affirmation of healthy components in food behind only whole grains, fiber and vitamin D. This summer, Beyond Meat, a large, meat-alternatives manufacturer, expanded its production threefold and hired 250 more workers to keep up with demand of its “faux meat” products. Foodservice operations and restaurants would do well to focus on providing increased plant-based options and to prioritize doing so.
DAIRY ALTERNATIVES (TOP), COURTESY MARIANA MEDVEDEVA BLENDED BURGERS (BOTTOM), COURTESY THANOS PAL
48% of consumers say a plant-based meal can be just as satisfying
38% of foodservice operators are adding veggiecentric dishes to accompany meatbased options
51% of consumers are interested in burgers blended with grains or veggies (like mushrooms)
19% is the year-overyear increase of plant-based shipments from distributors to restaurants and foodservice operations
EXPERT TIPS Use dairy alternatives for great-tasting replacement of ricotta, cream cheese and cheese sauces. Cashew cheese is a great example. Embrace Meatless Mondays. Blend burgers with veggies and grains to reduce the amount of animal protein and fat. Use meat alternatives ("faux meat") which can be very satisfying and mimick the feel and taste of animal protein. SOURCES: DATASSENTIAL, RESTAURANT BUSINESS , NPD
mbracing and understanding this next generation of consumer, Gen Z, is important to restaurateurs and restaurant companies across the United States. After all, this is the emerging generation that spends the most of their hard-earned dollars on food prepared outside the home.
According to a Piper Jaffray study, cited in a report by the Food Institute, 24 percent of Gen Z spending is on food.This is the generation that is seeing its maturation occur in a rapidly changing world, due to “boundless access” to technology, according to Ernst & Young (EY). Its Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers report offers up characteristics of this generation that need to be appreciated by marketers in order to better understand how to approach and engage them.
Just like Millennials, not all Gen Z consumers will be behave identically, but there are huge swaths of traits that can be observed so that marketers can develop a comprehensive strategy for engagement. For one thing, the report talks about Gen Z being the first, true generation of digital natives. They have known nothing else. This immediate access to data that they have known all their lives—and to instant Google searches, to Uber and Lyft rides within 5 minutes—has led to a
CHASING GEN Z ERIC NOMIS
GRADUATION. PHOTO COURTESY JONATHAN DANIELS.
UNDERSTANDING THE ALL-DIGITAL GENERATION
determined sense of wanting gratification quickly, while at the same time being willing to work for it. This is a self-taught generation, one of action. "I want it and I want it now”—so says Payton Duncan, an intern at Paytronix, and moderator of a recent webinar on “Everything you need to know about Gen Z.”. As a loyalty technology company, Paytronix has been developing an understanding of this customer demographic and sharing those insights with its customers. With these webinar insights, together with the EY report, one can begin to glean important clues about Gen Z behavior for the purposes of marketing to them. UNDERSTANDING GEN Z
To understand Gen Z, one should start with the environment they grew up in. According to EY, this generation has grown in an era of violence and turbulence. Gen Z only knows a post-9/11 world and, consequently, the war against terrorism. Add to this the advent of cyberbullying and school shooting violence, and their environment has been turned into a very shaky and uncertain predicament. EY cites a statistic that over half of of youth today report being cyberbullied. This type of upbringing has led to a need for Gen Z to be self-aware and self-reliant and for their parents to demand it from them. In an era of turbulence, Gen Z expects to change this environment for the better. Whereas Millennials may have been considered selfcentered, Gen Z has self-awareness. Gen Z has turned Millennials’ idealism into realism, actively looking to be “agents of social change,” says Duncan. “She notes that according to Fast Company, 76 percent of Gen Z care about human impact on the planet and want to know how they can be change agents. Gen Z consumers will EATERY PULSE NEWS | 20
GEN Z: ALL-DIGITAL NATIVES. PHOTO COURTESY NATHAN DUMLAO.
expect businesses to more transparent and to be better global citizens. Are companies being eco-friendly, like Starbucks and other chains that are ditching plastic straws? Are they treating employees well? Positive business attributes and identities will most likely lead to better engagement with Gen Z and a higher shopping intent. The broad access to technology has also made everything searchable and discoverable. There is more detail and nuance to the world that can be uncovered. Duncan says that Gen Z consumers, like herself, enjoy food from other parts of the world. They consider themselves inherent foodies, but they always want to know what is in the food. They place much value on food labeling and understanding ingredients. According to Duncan, more restaurants should act like fastcasual chains, offering innovative food at a quick pace. Embracing technology is also key. “In the
food industry, marketers need to understand that this generation grew up knowing that food is for much more than sustenance; food represents culture and therefore is an expression of who they are,” notes research firm NPD in its 2018 Thought Leadership series. EY’s Rise of Gen Z report says that these young consumers are more likely to start their own businesses. In fact more than six (6) in tehn (10) plan to do so, in large part due to their selfreliance: “71 percent expect their first business venture to fail but view failure as a learning opportunity.” With this fierce self-reliance and determination, Gen Z consumers will be harder to engage, and harder to win over. They can be more practical and realistic—even pragmatic. KEY TECH IMPERATIVES
Restaurant companies need to embrace technology to quicken the pace of the onpremise experience and to provide more, easilyaccessible information about their menus, foods, allergens, ingredients, calories, and so forth. Restaurants should also be where this Gen Z customer is. Gone are the days of contemplating an online presence. Today, a total digital presence is what's required—online, mobile and social channels are a must. Duncan says that responding to online reviews is a necessity, particularly as this can signal to diners that a
restaurant company cares about its guests’ experiences and gives it ability to change the opinion of a guest. Eighty-five percent of a person’s time is spent on their top 5 apps, leaving only 15 percent of the time for the others, notes Duncan. When rolling out mobile apps, restaurants should pay close attention to the features that are integrated within them and what value proposition they offer. Restaurant companies cannot afford to release apps just for the sake of releasing them. Mobile apps that offer unique features and perks are going to have a higher chance of engaging the user. A total of 72 percent of Gen Z consumers share photos of their foods on apps, notes Duncan. And contrary to popular belief, Gen Z consumers have not abandoned Facebook, she says. It is critical for restaurants to be on social media and to post regularly in order to keep engagement with their fans. In its Thought Leadership series, NPD says, “Gen Z consumers think of themselves as having a personal brand with a story and values by which to live. They seek brands that support their story, and they are willing to use them regardless of a brand’s size.” In Gen Z, we are sure to see an almost functional use of social media, and we’ll learn to appreciate a group of consumers with rigid expectations about brand narratives because of this Rise of Gen Z suggests that traditional loyalty programs may
SOURCE: EY, RISE OF GEN Z: NEW CHALLENGE FOR RETAILERS
not necessarily work on this demographic; so connecting and keeping Gen Z consumers' attention is of utmost importance. Restaurant companies need to look at the totality of the offering and the value proposition of the restaurant experience will go further. The report articulates,“The bottom line is that Gen Z expects retailers to get the product to them. This adds to the pressure to find new ways to grab and hold consumers’ attention. To do so, retailers and brands must authentically connect with Gen Z in their hearts and minds.” Duncan of Paytroniix recommends that restaurants customize and personalize the experience to win over Gen Z loyalty. Offer NFC
GIRL WITH IPHONE. PHOTO COURTESY RAWPIXEL
mobile payment and for table-service restaurants, implementing pay-at-the-table features, like those instituted for a recent client, can quicken transactions and improve the experience for Gen Z consumers. Use data retrieved from apps to engage with customers one-on-one, which is what these consumers are looking for. In mobile apps, make sure to offer promotions, including discounting, that can be tracked to gauge their success and roll out offers that can be customized for the individual app user. Within the digital realm, the more personalization and connection that is offered, the more success a restaurant is likely to have with its marketing efforts.
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ROSHAN THOMAS ith the push to deliver more creative W dishes to impress customers, it can be easy
to consider completely new ingredients altogether. However, there is often something to be gained by sticking with the classics, and new takes on old dishes and ingredients sometimes wow diners the most. Chicken is no exception to this and there’s proof of that all over the DMV food scene. The thing that makes chicken so popular is perhaps its ubiquity. As a meat found in nearly every culture’s cuisine, people from all over the world can identify with the bird and how it stars in their favorite plates. In the DMV, there are many international eateries offering their own spin on chicken. Bonchon is one of the most popular, bringing mountainous plates of Korean fried chicken to its patrons each day. With multiple locations in D.C., Md., and Va., it’s one chain
that has developed a cult following. Bonchon features many Korean classics, such as bibimbap (mixed rice bowl) and japchae (stirfried glass noodles). The most demand though is for the fried chicken platters. Diners can choose from wings, drumsticks, and strips basted in either soy garlic or spicy sauce and can add authentic Korean sides and drinks to round out the experience. It’s impossible to talk about international chicken dishes without mentioning Nando’s Peri-Peri, a customer favorite around the globe. Nando’s offers the standard fare of sandwiches, salads, and wraps, but thanks to its signature “peri-peri” sauce, customers keep coming back for the rich flavor. The spice comes from the peri-peri pepper, also known as the African Bird’s Eye Chili. Nando’s chefs mix the peppers with salt, vinegar, lemon, onion, and olive oil to create
SPICY CHICKEN WINGS. PHOTO COURTESY BON CHON
the famous sauce. With restaurants across nearly all continents, Nando’s is truly offering a unique chicken experience everywhere it lands. As mentioned earlier, marketing chicken dishes these days, in a saturated food market, requires creativity as restaurateurs have to push their chefs to offer more than just standard fare plates. Isaiah Ruffin, head chef of The Bird in D.C., gave us his insights on how he ensures his chicken dishes stand out from all others. According to Ruffin, the bird itself is just as important as the process used to prepare it. The Bird sources its chickens from New York and Pennsylvania and they come “BoBo style”, meaning that the head and feet are not removed. This guarantees a level of freshness that is hard to find in other restaurants and makes the unique ingredients that Ruffin employs pack an even bigger punch. Take the “Thai Barbecue,” one of
The Bird’s standout chicken dishes. It is marinated in fish sauce, lemongrass, and other Thai flavors before being smoked. The fish saucelemongrass combination together creates a pungent flavor that is not common in traditional American dishes. In addition to fascinating new ingredients, chefs can turn to unique cooking methods to create special culinary masterpieces. Navy Yard newcomer, Chloe, offers a delicious roast chicken on its menu, served on a bed of softened greens and paired with a tangy chili-lime sauce. The secret to Chloe’s delicious take on a classic roast chicken is that the bird is air-dried overnight, resulting in its crispy, crackly skin and tender, moist inside. Chicken’s popularity in the foodscape proves that you don’t always have to go for overly EATERY PULSE NEWS | 25
expensive, exotic ingredients to wow customers. By sticking with a classic staple and elevating it with rich and flavorful ingredients and innovative cooking techniques, chefs can create dishes that will have people coming back for more. And with chicken around for the long haul, these new plate possibilities are definitely worth taking advantage of.
FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH. PHOTO COURTESY THE BIRD.
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COCKTAIL TRENDS HEALTHY EATING BUILDING SALES FALL FLAVORS
THE BRANDS YOU TRUST. EATERY PULSE MEDIA.
EMERIL LAGASSE (LEFT). CARLA HALL (RIGHT). PHOTO COURTESY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY.
METRO COOKING D.C. RETURNS T Entertaining he Metropolitan Cooking and Show is returning to
Washington, D.C. December 1-2 in full form. Emeril Lagasse will headline the show, flanked by TV Host Carla Hall in encore appearances. MetroCooking D.C. welcomes Emmy-winning Chef Lidia Bastianich. Hall co-hosted “The Chew” on the ABC TV network, which saw its seventh season this year, and Bastianich is a celebrated chef. Attendees will have a lot to experience with on-demand shopping available as they cruise through the aisles. There’s an array of options that await them, including specialty food products, holiday gift options, book signings, and taking in live demos from James Beard honored chefs. This event is organized by E.J. Krause & Associates.
The Metro Cooking D.C. James Beard Stage is a coveted, annual attraction and this year, Lagasse and top chefs from the D.C. area and local celebrity, will be participating, including Scott Drewno. Drewno is no stranger in the D.C. area— certainly not—after having won the RAMMYS Best New Restaurant of the Year award for Chiko with cofounders Danny Lee and Drew Kim. Amy Brandwein of Centrolina, RAMMYS 2018 Chef of the Year, will also join the chefs on stage. Erik Bruner-Yang, of Maketto; Vikram Sunderam, of Rasika and Bindaas, and Michael Schlow, of The Riggsby and Alta Strada, will also be in the spotlight; along with other regional Beard-honored winners and nominees. Cooking classes will be featured, with the support of
chefs from Sur La Table. At the BBQ Bash on Saturday, December 1, top barbecue restaurants and pitmasters will be on hand to provide tips and insights on grilling and trends. Sunday will be a true barbecue-style celebration, erected around the Grand Tasting Pavilion, benefiting the organization SOME (So others might eat), The Pavilion will feature more than 50 restaurants dishing out barbecue bites that are sweet, savory or a combination of. MetroCooking D.C. general admission tickets, which include entry to the James Beard Cooking Stage and the Exhibitor Marketplace, run $21.50. Guests looking for access to the Sur la Table cooking classes, Beer, Wine & Spirits Garden, BBQ Bash, or the Grand Tasting Pavilion, should purchase individual event tickets, which are sold separately. Alternately, spring for VIP ticket packages, which provide entry to the backstage area where Chef Lagasse will be available to meet and greet guests. Special Event tickets are now available. Look for them here: https://ev1.evenue.net/cgibin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList? groupCode=DC&linkID=imgimgt12&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=
LIDIA BASTIANICH. PHOTO COURTESY SARA ESSEX BADLEY
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EMERGING CULINARY TRENDS TAKE RESTAURANT MENUS WAY BEYONDÂ TACO TUESDAY. RICK ZAMBRANO
PHOTO COURTESY ANGELA PHAM.
JARAABE TIPATIO TRADITION. PHOTO COURTESY SYDNEY RAE.
EATERY PULSE NEWS | 34
There is much innovation and influence being derived from global foods. As restaurants and foodservice operations look to develop next-gen dishes to appeal to more discerning and experimental diners, they don’t have to look too far to be inspired. Grain and Bakery Innovation, a culinary research report from Packaged Facts, a well-respected research firm, is spotlighting several takes on foods that are emerging or still developing. These creative insights look promising for foodservice application, including south-of-the-border foods in the form of globally-inspired tacos, chilaquiles and migas. Packaged Facts’ exploration into these foods and their corresponding menu sightings show that there is a lot to draw from the cuisine of Mexico to take breakfast at restaurants, contract foodservice and catering to the next level. Tacos, in particular, are being fused with global dishes, blending ingredients from countries like India and Korea. NOMADIC
Global, taco inspiration and ideation take diners beyond Taco Tuesday Packaged Facts says, “Tacos have become the ultimate shareable, mix-and-match, fun to customize food that suits these fine-casual times and experimental sensibilities.” Tacos’ menuing rating has surged to 26.6 percent, surpassing a seven-percent increase in just the last 10 years, according to data in the report from trend research firm Datassential. “The tortilla is the perfect platform for all sorts of proteins, vegetables, salsas, slaws, sauces, marinades, cremas, herbs and more, in a constant profusion of seasonal and protein flux,” notes Packaged Facts.
kale slaw, cilantro-lime ranch, crispy garlic, cilantro, scallions, to take on Southwestern influence. The eatery recommends trying the dish with avocado, pivoting it back to a Southwest and Mexican framework. Packaged Facts provides additional menu sightings, from East to West. Among many takeaways in the Grain and Bakery Innovation report is using tacos as a fun way to offer build-your-own taco bars to generate excitement and customization. This goes beyond the typical Taco Tuesday and can work particularly well in Latin American concepts, but can also be utilized in American and American-fusion restaurants. Offering gluten-free soft tacos and taco shells is also an effective way to stay relevant, as more consumers adopt the gluten-free trend, notes
One of the tacos that was highlighted in the report is Indian Fry Bread Taco with Bison chili. The medley of flavors combine with the familiarity and playfulness of the taco carrier, but molding it to reflect authentic Indian inspiration. Packaged Facts also spotlights a taco that draws inspiration from South Korea. In D.C., Korean tacos aren’t hard to find and the battle is on to be considered one of the best such eateries. At Seoul Spice in Washington, D.C., the Korean tacos can be customized, but customers can opt for the house specialties. The Fresh Southwestern Taco pivots to Korean influence. The taco combines Kalbi-chicken, a Korean grilled-dish style, with corn, carrots,
PHOTO COURTESY LINDSAY MOE
Packaged Facts. Many experts consider gluten-free a dining trend that is here to stay, and the demand for gluten-free foods is still robust. A separate report from Packaged Facts noted a 36-percent sales increase in gluten-free foods from 2010 to 2015.
Going beyond the breakfast burrito: Chilaquiles and migas Chilaquiles are a popular dish in Mexico and are typically reserved for breakfast. Chilaquiles are made with softened tortilla strips that are bathed in red or green salsa or sauce, and then combined with fried eggs, meats—particularly chicken, fried or green onions, chilies, and can be topped with cilantro, crema and queso fresco. The dish is said to have started as a way to preserve the previous night’s dinner tortillas and salsa. Traditionally, chilaquiles have been thought of as a hangover remedy. As consumers look to experiment beyond the breakfast burrito, chilaquiles are an ideal dish worth exploring. The medley of ingredients that can be combined in the chilaquiles can create an explosion of flavor. Packaged Facts notes that chilaquiles have risen in menu mentions by more than four points over the last decade and now account for a 10.9percent menuing rating (Datassential). Chilaquiles are ripe for use by quick-service EATERY PULSE NEWS | 36
chains as they are a creative way to present a speedy and interesting breakfast option. Chefdriven fast-casual concepts, in particular, can make the dishes their own. Regional attributes will often dictate the time the tortilla strips spend in sauce or salsa, and type of salsa or sauce used to soften them. In its report, the research firm highlights the chilaquiles from First Watch, a national, casual-dining breakfast chain. The First Watch Chilaquiles are two sunny-side up cage-free eggs atop sautéed corn tortilla chips, allnatural chicken breast, fresh avocado, cilantro, red onion, feta cheese, and salsa verde, served with black beans. The Latin Mayan Cuisine in La Grange, Ky. also has a penchant for salsa verde in its Chilaquiles Verdes with shredded chicken, onions and cilantro. Migas are a similar dish, centered around cutup pan-fried tortillas that are topped with scrambled eggs, vegetables, salsa and meats. A menu sighting at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop reveals a few Migas dishes on the menu: The Migas combines two scrambled eggs, chorizo, pico de gallo, and tortilla strips, served with refried beans, Latin-fried potatoes, two flour tortillas, and salsa verde. Another example at Fuzzy’s is the Chicken Chilaquiles dish, combining two scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, tortilla strips. shredded cheese, and pico de gallo, served with refried beans. The Packaged Facts report has several menu
trend applications. Among the recommendations is serving these Mexican breakfast items in a black-iron pan or individual skillet for an eye-catching presentation. Diners are eager to explore spicier and unique takes on global preparation and seek out a deeper dive into regionallyinfluenced Mexican cuisine. Chilaquiles and migas represent creativity in bowl-less fashion that can be customized to up the ante on the breakfast experience, taking cues from preparations that are unique to certain cities and regions in Mexico, and then replicating them. These dishes may even spur new concept creation.
Rick Zambrano is the editor of Eatery Pulse Mediaâ€™s food & drink and foodservice publications, including Eatery Pulse News, Restaurant C-Suite Magazine and Swizzle Chill magazines. Additionally, he is the producer and director of Swizzle Chill TV 4K UHD webbroadcast shows in Washington, D.C. Zambrano is also a consultant, with a specialization in food costing, financial analysis and profit optimization. His works, insights and commentary have appeared in business & trade publications and food industry research reports.
For more information about the Grain and Bakery Innovation report, see the abstractÂ at PackagedFacts.com.
CHILAQUILE (LEFT). .PHOTO COURTESY THE MAYAN LATIN CUISINE.
BEST D.C. BARBECUE ERIC NOMIS
LIBERTY BARBECUE, FALLS CHURCH, VA. PHOTO COURTESY: LIBERTY BARBECUE
DCITY BARBECUE. PHOTO COURTESY DCITY BARBECUE
The Washington Post released its "Best D.C. Barbecue Joints" for 2018. Some surprises were certainly in store for die-hard D.C.-area barbecue fans and followers. Hill Country Barbecue dropped in its ranking this time to fourth; in fact, the review is not so pleasant, but provides room for improvement for the well-respected local icon in next year’s evaluation. There are also newcomers added to the list and notable ranking improvements. The ratings and assessments were helped by the barbecue editor of Texas Monthly, a well-versed barbecue expert and aficionado in his own right,
DCity Smokehouse moved up the list to number 8 from a previous ranking of 10th. Two years after its headmaster left, the barbecue place is on the right track and pleasing fans with a pulled pork that is nearly top-rated in the area. Pitmaster Shawn McWhirter has taken on the role with conviction and artful technique. Also, the Best D.C. Barbecue List was extended to include HammerDown Barbecue, ranked 11th, from Aldie, Va. The brisket there is described as “succulent and stinging with black peppercorns.” New additions also include Rolling Rib, Part II, from Upper Marlboro, ranked
THE BRISKET AT LIBERTY BARBECUE IN FALLS CHURCH, VA.
seventh. “Smoky and succulent” is what The Post uses to describe Rolling Rib's spare ribs and pulled pork. Liberty Barbecue in Falls Church, Va., ranked fifth. The Liberty Tavern Group, owners of the Lyon Hall in Arlington, Va. and Northside Social restaurants in Falls Church and Arlington, delivered an impressive introduction of their expertise to the Falls Church community when they replaced Famous Dave’s vacated spot along West Broad Street with Liberty Barbecue. The young hickory leads to a deep smokiness of the meats, and the eatery receives a notable mention of its finedining heritage.
Liberty Barbecue is new on the list. To see the full list of Best D.C. Barbecue Joint rankings for 2018 and the top-ranked restaurant from Arlington, Va., check out the Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/go ingoutguide/restaurants/the-11best-barbecue-joints-in-the-dc-areain-2018/2018/07/02/82e51ef67343-11e8-9780b1dd6a09b549_story.html. EATERY PULSE NEWS | 39
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