Regional American cuisine takes root on menus
The broad category of "traditional North American" has grown by 26% since 2008 and is now the most popular cuisine type listed on menus, according to Mintel Menu Insights, a resource that tracks flavor and ingredient trends in leading chain and independent restaurants.
- Southern regions dominate; the top regional labels on menus are Southwestern, Southern, BBQ, Cajun, Hawaiian and Californian.
- Specific geographical claims are also showing up as descriptors, including New York-style, Texas, St, Louis-style, Philly-style, New England, Memphis, Santa Fe and New Orleans.
- Over a three-year period, Memphis and St. Louis references surged by 195% and 51% respectively, as many rib joints (Tony Roma's, Dave & Buster's, etc.) have focused on regional BBQ styles.
- Many regional sandwich, hot dog and burger chains ran American promotions in 2011, which accounts for a big bump in Philly-style (up 108%).
- Other regions/cities are emerging and building in pizza, taco and sandwich mentions, including Chicago-style and Baja.
Source: Mintel Menu Insights, November, 2011