Foodie trends for 2018: 9 chefs, restaurateurs, and brewers predict 'em

Tori Ramen’s top-selling vegetarian shoyu, another plant-based food poised to pop in 2018.

Tori Ramen’s top-selling vegetarian shoyu, another plant-based food poised to pop in 2018. Sasha Landskov

Out with doughnuts; in with playful cocktails?

Because we’re always looking ahead, we asked local tastemakers what they hope we’ll see and what they’d be more than happy to have fall by the wayside in 2018.

“In 2018, I’m looking for veggie-centric plates, more attention paid to where our seafood is sourced and how, more ‘natural’ wines being served and talked about, and an even greater interest in tea, especially matcha. I’d like to see more bold flavors coming from kitchens—but please, let’s not welcome the ’90s back in that regard.”

— Kim Bartmann, restaurateur, Bartmann Group (Barbette, Tiny Diner, The Bird, etc.)

“No more flabby hop haze.”

—Dan Stavig, lead brewer, Indeed Brewing Company

“I want to see the playfulness of cocktails continue to grow in 2018. Now that there’s a plethora of cocktail programs that are committed to quality, history, and technique, I’m hoping to see a movement towards taking that skill and education and churning out something new and visually stimulating. We’ve stripped down drinks to their most basic fundamentals based on history over the last decade, and now I’m hoping to see drink menus get more dressed up for the party.”

—Nick Kosevich, proprietor, Bittercube

“I’d love to see less foams on menus—I’d be happy if that trend went away. I predict seeing fewer composed plates on menus and more shareable plates, eat with your hands, casual dining type food.”

—Adam Eaton, chef de cuisine, Saint Dinette

“I would be excited to see growth in the use of delicious, old-school, traditional foods like freshly milled whole grains, bone and meat broths, and fermented vegetables. As delicious as they can be, I think we have enough doughnuts and burger options in town.” 

—Alex Roberts, owner and head chef, Alma and Brasa

“I really want preconceived ‘authenticity’ and cultural assumptions to go away. I don’t care where you’re from—if you honor and connect with the cultures that influence you, awesome. If you don’t, then that’s appropriation, and you should stop. Mexican doesn’t mean cheap, Korean doesn’t mean spicy, and American doesn’t mean only meat and potatoes. There’s a big-ass world out there; food is a pretty good way to learn a little bit about it.”

—Thomas Kim, owner and head chef, the Rabbit Hole

“I predict more places using counter service due to the $15 minimum wage increase. I also anticipate the chef shortage won’t go away anytime soon. It’s getting harder and harder to find good talent in the kitchen as culinary schools close.”

—Benjamin Rients, chef-proprietor, Lyn 65

“Gin is still on the serious climb. I also see both Japanese whiskey and un-aged whiskey growing in popularity, especially whiskey that has more to do with the craft and less to do with the time it sat around. Kombucha is seemingly everywhere for people in the know, but I believe it will be more of a household beverage over the next two years. And, more a hope than a potential trend, but the Croatian/Solvenian/Hungarian wine scene is most underrated.”

—Matty O’Reilly, owner, Republic, Bar Brigade, Delicata

“As people grow more conscious of their food sources and the impact of what they consume, we anticipate diners caring more and more about their carbon footprints. There are calculators out there to calculate the carbon footprint of what you’re eating. We think that guests will go beyond just eating local and care about this moving forward.”

—Thomas Dambrine, co-owner of (the entirely vegetarian) Fig & Farro, opening soon in Uptown

Click here to read more stories from our Year in Food 2017 issue