2019 brought us cauliflower pizza crust, the Japanese soufflé pancake and so much more. But food is always trending and who better to predict what’s going to be the next culinary craze in the new decade than our chefs and beverage directors at Lettuce Entertain You. Here, they give us a glimpse into some of the things we can expect to see on their restaurants’ menus in 2020!

Vegetarian and Vegan dishes at Mon Ami Gabi
Mon Ami Gabi’s vegan menu

We hereby proclaim January as “Veganuary”

Turns out, you may not need to ditch the red wine in the New Year after all, just red meat. In 2019, innovative vegan dishes at restaurants from fast casual to fine dining were everywhere, and we predict this trend is here to stay. From nachos and tacos to French Onion Soup, our chefs have found a way to make your favorite comfort food dishes 100 percent plant-based and delicious.


Hub 51 vegan nachos restaurant horoscope food astrology
Vegan nachos from Hub 51


Creative mocktails are here just in time for Dry January 

RPM Steak Mocktails
Zero Proof Cocktails from RPM Steak

Each year, numerous people pledge to do Dry January. But just because you’re giving up the booze, doesn’t mean you have to give up the creativity or flavor of your drink. Check out mocktails at a variety of our restaurants including Summer House Santa Monica, Pizzeria Portofino, Quality Crab & Oyster Bah, RPM Steak, Everest and many more.


mocktail at oyster bah
Ginger Island at Quality Crab & Oyster Bah



Omakase experiences are here to stay

Sushi-San Sushi 45 minute omakase
A course from Sushi-San’s 45 minute omakase

Another trend that is here to stay are omakase experiences. 2019 introduced many high-end omakase restaurants to the dining scene, especially in Chicago and our sushi experts predict that there is no sign of these experiences slowing down in 2020.

“What you saw this past year was a lot of high-end omakase restaurants opening in Chicago. As people become more familiar with that type of cuisine and experience, eating that level of sushi has started to become more approachable. In 2020, I believe you will see a wider range of omakase and special sushi experiences,” – Amarit Dulyapaibul, Partner, Sushi-San.

Sushi-San Omakase 45 minute

Sushi-San just launched the 45-minute omakase for $45, which is an approachable and fun way to have an omakase experience. There will also be a hand roll bar at Sushi-San that is opening in Willis Tower, which is another way to eat sushi in a quick and fun environment.

Get excited, a high-end omakase room from Chef Kaze Chan is coming to River North, opening right above Sushi-San in 2020.


Alternative milks; especially oat milk
Latte at Beatrix
Oat Milk Latte at Beatrix

Move over dairy milks, and even soy, because more diverse and healthier alternatives are coming to menus near you. You may have noticed a rise in milk options to order in your morning coffee from almond milk to oat milk, coconut milk to rice milk. Pro tip: Next time you are at Beatrix, try the Hazelnut Oat Mocha made with hazelnut, mocha, chai, oat milk and espresso (available at all Beatrix locations).


Virtual restaurants will continue to offer menus exclusively via delivery

 

From Whole30 Delivered and Bon Appetit, Delivered to Seaside’s, Lettuce Entertain You embraced the trend of virtual restaurants starting in 2019. Virtual restaurants are concepts available only via delivery, making it quick and easy to get exclusive dishes delivered right to your door. The growing popularity into ordering delivery is what’s fueling the fire for more and more of these virtual restaurants to pop up. Who knows, you may just see new virtual concepts from Lettuce Entertain You open this year.

Turkey Burger at Whole30 Delivered
Turkey Burger from Whole30 Delivered




Now let’s turn our attention to vino. According to our resident wine experts, here are a few wine trends to look out for in 2020.


Wine glasses at Aba
A return to the classics

“Moving into this New Year, I think we’re going to see a return to the classics. The past few years, experimental varietals from little known places and producers have been fantastic in pushing consumers to drink outside of their comfort zones. Drinking the classics also doesn’t mean breaking the bank, it’s more so learning classic varietals from their long standing home regions, including: Sangiovese from Tuscany, Chenin from the Loire, Tempranillo from Rioja – all good examples of classic wines that are downright delicious and can be very approachable in price point,” – Nate Redner, Beverage Director, Aba, Ema, Antico Posto, Beatrix, and Mity Nice.

Pass the porron
Stella Wine Bar Porron

“2019 was about large format wines and in 2020, I predict we will be seeing more porrons on menus. Porrons were originally designed for keeping the drink cool or temperate, and more importantly, easy sharing with friends. It’s a fun and interactive way to share wine with friends and the glass design gives each blend some light aeration for a still-elevated wine tasting experience,” – Bobby Joe Rinaldo, Wine Director, Stella Barra Pizzeria & Wine Bar.

Order a porron at Bar Ramone in Chicago and any Stella Barra Pizzeria & Wine Bar location.

A dish you’ve got to try in 2020? The Kachapuri at Aba during brunch, check out why you need to add it to your list. 

We also hear that lasagna will be making its comeback this year! Here is the recipe for il Porcellino’s World Famous Burrata Lasagna.

As you can see, 2020 is going to be a very exciting year to dine out (or dine in). We look forward sharing some of these trends with you in this New Year.