Summer Menu Trends

 In Be Calendar Relevant, Drive Traffic

With summer officially underway, many bars and restaurants have changed up their menu offerings to suit the warmer weather. Long gone are the comfort foods of winter, as menus are featuring fresh, local produce, and BBQ-inspired cocktails. Yes, you heard us right. Read on for more food trends for this summer!


Smoky Flavors

Summer is the season of the backyard barbeque and brisket, ribs and burgers are favorite smoky standbys. But what about a smoked cocktail like the Smoked Old Fashioned at The Brooklyn Star in Brooklyn, NY?  Using a smoked simple syrup, the drink puts a twist on an old favorite. In addition to cocktails, chefs across the country are infusing smoky flavors into cheese, grains and even desserts on their menus.

Hyper- Local Sourcing

These days, it’s not uncommon to see locally sourced goods on restaurant menus. However, some restaurants are taking local to the next level, by growing their own produce. Chef Brian McPherson of Jackson 20 in Alexandria, VA uses kaffir lime leaves from a special tree in the restaurant’s garden to infuse olive oil and use in a variety of dishes.  In addition to this type of super-local sourcing, you can expect to see chefs and bartenders pairing local dishes with local beer, wine or spirits.


This summer, freshly-squeezed lemon, lime and oranges are taking a backseat to their pink cousin, the grapefruit. While grapefruit cocktails are nothing new, the fruit is also making an appearance at brunch – with chefs serving it broiled with sugar, or frozen in a granita.

Sustainable Seafood

Many consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about buying sustainable seafood, meaning that they are purchasing fish that are already plentiful in our oceans, lakes and rivers and that are harvested in non-destructive ways in order to allow for natural and healthy population growth. Restaurants and caterers (like New York’s Abigail Kirsch) are catching on too, featuring sustainable and seasonal seafood on their menus.

Greek Yogurt

It seems hard to imagine a time when the yogurt aisle at your neighborhood grocery store wasn’t dominated by so many different brands of Greek yogurt. As the new “it” protein source for many healthy eaters, it wasn’t long before fast-casual restaurants caught on! Pinkberry recently rolled out a new line of Greek yogurt smoothies. So far, they are the only national frozen yogurt chain to introduce non-frozen Greek yogurt into their menu, but we expect other chains and restaurants will follow suit!


What other food trends have you noticed for summer? Will you be changing up your menu to include any of these seasonal trends?

Recommended Posts