What we’re seeing:
Remember when bar snacks were just bowls of salty stuff to encourage you to drink more? Now bars compete with each other to see who has the tastiest nuts. Other traditional bar foods like popcorn, deviled eggs and protein snacks have caught our eye, too, and we like the idea of ordering small plates while we look at the menu. Pass us another soft pretzel, would you?
What they’re saying:
Serge Romero, Punch Bowl Social Food & Drink: The great thing about snacks is they let you enjoy a medley of different foods without feeling gluttonous. From a kitchen standpoint, snacks are a great way to showcase your concept without guests feeling like they have to order a full meal. Snacks lend themselves to sharing, socializing and gathering.
In the kitchen:
• Ryan McCaskey of Acadia offers upscale interpretations on basic bar bites. The Chicago spot’s bar menu features house-made Kennebec potato chips with salt and vinegar, garlic dill pickles and fried okra with vanilla bean mayonnaise.
• Brennan’s of Houston’s Texas Creole menu offers a plate of caviar nachos, crowned with an ounce of Petrossian caviar.
• At Blackbelly Market, recently opened in Boulder, CO, chef Hosea Rosenberg is offering a snack of “Potatoes and Parts”—rotisserie potatoes with chicken hearts, liver and juices all gathered from the basket at the bottom of the rotisserie.