Hot Trends in Bars and Restaurants


The cocktail menu is a smorgasbord of options, with a strong emphasis on craft spirits. A few standouts include a White Cosmo, a spritz of St. Germain elderflower liqueur and white cranberry juice, garnished with an orchid suspended within a sphere of ice; and the Grill Sour, a riff on the Bee’s Knees made with honey-lavendar syrup.

It’s not rude to order a drink that’s not on the menu — as long as you’re able to describe it so the bartender can replicate it (the Negroni and Sidecar are reasonable examples, while a Widow’s Kiss isn’t). Just make sure you don’t ask for a Zombie or something similarly complicated; that’s asking too much of a bartender, and will probably end up making your drink less than ideal. Aside from cocktails, the bar also serves a wide selection of beers and wines by the glass. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a spirited beverage before dinner at the adjacent restaurant.


Burgers should inspire bolts of nostalgia, blasts of the past and promises of what’s ahead. They should inspire dreams and memories and be consumed in the company of family, friends or strangers. And they should be delicious.

At Solly’s, a Milwaukee institution, the burgers are indeed delicious. I’ve had the BBQ bacon and mushroom truffle burgers, both are super umami with lots of flavor. The fries are great too. Prices are typical for the neighborhood.

For something special, try The Happiest Burger, which is two all-beef patties with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, confit onions and special sauce served with pommes frites for $12. Pair it with a drink like Autumn in New York (Bourbon, Campari, cinnamon caraway syrup) or ’21’ Perfect Manhattan (Maker’s Mark or Bulleit Rye, sweet and dry vermouth, lemon, bitters). The menu also offers sandwiches*, salads*, milkshakes* and kids meals. *Individual menu items may have additional charges.


Salads have risen to the top of restaurant menu trends. Consumers on a quest for healthier food options are applauding restaurants’ efforts with snaps, tweets and shares on social media. Creative menu engineering and salad bar setup ideas have helped this traditional buffet become the next hot dining trend in restaurant settings from five-star dining rooms to drive-through windows.

Satisfy health-conscious consumers by serving a variety of fresh, flavorful toppings. Create balanced salads that provide greens, vegetables, proteins, grains and crunch. Tossed pasta salads, grilled romaine hearts and seasonal melon are delicious choices. Offer a signature in-house dressing as part of your menu’s branding and marketing strategies.

In a fine dining setting, add gourmet salad bar ingredients like thin-sliced beef tenderloin, lump crab meat or fresh peeled shrimp. Side the salad bar with a cold table featuring classic soups like minestrone and chowder. These cost-effective offerings pair well with salads and complement the restaurant’s high-end image.


Whether they’re served in a parfait or piled high in a sundae, desserts are a major draw at bars and restaurants. They’re especially popular during the summer, when seasonal ingredients are at their peak.

Pastry chefs are still pushing the boundaries with innovative sweets, though more diners say they want traditional options like cake and ice cream. The Cronut, invented in 2013 by Dominique Ansel, drew a waitlist to his New York City bakery and inspired countless imitators.

Complicated little plates, or CLPs, became a signature of the 2010s, redefining desserts with tiny flourishes like swoops of sauce, slivers of cake or quenelles of ice cream. They often incorporated molecular techniques, such as spherification and nitrogen flash-frozen elements, and were designed for Instagramming.

Trompe l’oeil also gained popularity in the decade, with dishes that looked like other foods. These whimsical visual gags, like toast that looked like a crab or fruit leather that looked like a beetle, offered a break from the overly serious tweezer food of the previous generation.

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