Four indie food trends stolen by chain restaurants

The Simpsons famously asked, "If you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from?"

Entertainment is built on stolen ideas, of course. But so, it seems, is the food industry, especially in recent years. Indie food trends--from food trucks to lobster rolls--aren't immune to being co-opted by big businesses. So we present four indie food trends stolen by chain restaurants and invite you to share others that come to mind.

Food Trucks

Applebee's has rolled out a food truck, according to our sister-paper Westword. A bunch of other big business chains are jumping in on the action, too: Cousins Submarines, Tasti D-Lite, and Toppers Pizza have rolled out food trucks across the country, as have big Twin Cities companies like Barrio.


Ruby Tuesday serves craft beer and recently won an award for its bar. If you look at its menu, it actually has a good selection of craft brews, topped by Dogfish Head 60 Minute India Pale Ale and Flying Dog Old Scratch. They're not the only ones: The Atlantic recently pointed out that restaurants from Chili's to Outback Steakhouse are embracing high-end cocktails.

Lobster Rolls

McDonald's, Au Bon Pain, and Quiznos serve lobster rolls. Subway used to but gave it up once it realized its lobster kind of sucked.

Mini-blizzards at DQ

Here's one we can get behind: Dairy Queen recently unveiled its "mini-blizzard," a "small" version of its infamous Blizzard shake. The large Blizzard large is 1,360 calories of awesome. The mini is "only" 390.

It's hard to complain about this one--though no one who's worried about their health would get a mini-Blizzard, anyway.

City Pages food truck map
Food truck owners to restaurateurs: Blame yourself, not our trucks, for business problems

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