Summer is here, and with it comes a craving for lighter fare and exciting new tastes! Restaurants across the Midwest are revamping their menus to embrace the season’s produce and cater to our evolving palates. Try embracing these 5 food trends sizzling on summer menus across the Midwest:

Global Street Food Gets Elevated

This summer, street food is having a moment, and it’s going global!  Expect familiar favorites from around the world, reimagined with high-quality ingredients and unique twists. Think Korean-style tacos with bulgogi beef and kimchi slaw, or Vietnamese rice paper wraps bursting with fresh summer vegetables and peanut sauce. These dishes are perfect for sharing, allowing you to embark on a culinary adventure across continents with every bite.

Veggie-Centric Feasts Take Center Stage

5 food trends shaping summer restaurant menus

Plant-based plates are no longer confined to side dishes. Midwestern restaurants are showcasing the versatility and deliciousness of vegetables as the main attraction. Expect innovative creations like watermelon “steaks” seasoned with smoky spices and drizzled with a balsamic glaze, or jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwiches piled high with tangy barbecue sauce. Bold flavor combinations, creative textures, and an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce are making vegetarian dining a satisfying experience this summer.

Local Community Support

Diners are increasingly seeking out restaurants that celebrate local farms and partners. Expect menus highlighting the freshest seasonal ingredients sourced from nearby Midwestern farms and markets. This not only ensures peak flavor and freshness, but also supports the local community. Look for dishes featuring heirloom tomatoes or sweet corn on the cob.

Fermentation for the Win

fermented foods

The art of fermentation is no longer confined to kimchi and kombucha. Restaurants are exploring the diverse possibilities of fermented foods, adding a depth of umami and complex flavors to their dishes. Dishes like grilled tempeh with a hoisin glaze, kimchi fried rice, or fermented hot sauce drizzled on tacos are becoming more common this summer.  These fermented ingredients not only elevate taste, but also offer potential health benefits like improved gut health.

Sweet and Sustainable Treats

We all scream for ice cream, but this summer, restaurants are rethinking dessert with a focus on sustainability. Look for options like reduced-waste ice cream made with leftover ingredients, or plant-based frozen treats made with almond or oat milk. Locally sourced honey may replace refined sugar in desserts, and seasonal fruits will take center stage, offering refreshing and guilt-free ways to end your meal.

These are just a few of the delicious trends shaping summer menus. So, grab your friends and family, head out to your favorite local restaurant, and embark on a culinary adventure filled with seasonal delights. 

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