We asked Team BTT and several folks who know the industry to tell us their local food & drink PREDICTIONS for 2016.
See what they had to say.
“The local food & drink scene will start gaining even more recognition outside of our city limits. The way we are headed is looking bright and there should be many national opportunities to follow.” -- Elise Miklich, Team BTT
“Lots of new taco and margarita combos (aka the official opening of Spicy Dan’s**), gluten-free baked goods, and hip coffee shops.” -- Dan Gribbin, Team BTT
“In the healthy spirits world, you'll be tasting more locally brewed, gluten-free and herb/plant-based beers -- along with more crossover medicinal cocktails and functional drinks.” -- Christine Dionese, Team BTT
“The Rochester and Finger Lakes region is going to start popping up a lot more in the food and drink world - from publications to products. As we amp up the coverage and awareness of local food and drink, you’ll see more national and international stories, lists and round ups about this area and the cool things we’re doing and making. Maybe we’ll even work toward our own Eater chapter.” -- Leah Stacy, Team BTT
“Finger Lakes wines will finally be widely available on local restaurant wine lists in 2016, beyond the token semi-dry Riesling that has been so common in the past. With the Brown Hound Bistro opening at the Memorial Art Gallery, there will be a new benchmark for what it means to highlight our world class wine region on a wine list. Rochester is one of the only a few cities (along with Syracuse) in a major wine region that does not feature local wines on their wine lists. I found an average of just seven percent FLX wines (by the glass) across 120 restaurants in metro Rochester. That tiny amount is embarrassing, and a lost opportunity to show visitors how exciting the region has become. 2016 will be the year. -- Michael Warren Thomas, contributor to NY Wine Spotting and host of local radio show Savor Life
“Well, it's not that bold a prediction because it's beginning to happen already, but I think (and hope) the trend of "restaurant enclaves" will gain more steam. You know, collections of brick and mortar establishments in a new district, gentrifying neighborhood or even section of a street. Rochester's Public Market, Linden Street in Geneva or the Anderson Avenue/Russell Street section of NOTA are good examples of this magnetic effect. Strength in numbers. The creation of a destination and sense of place.” -- Vince Press, contributor for Rochester Magazine and the Democrat and Chronicle
“The rise of locally-based, fast casual dining. We’ll see more make-it-your-way meals prepped in open kitchens using organic, non-GMO, ethical ingredients. We’ll take our food-filled trays to the casual but stylish dining spaces, stopping for a fountain drink before sliding into a booth, if we didn’t already treat ourselves to a glass of wine. We already eat like this at Saha Med Grill and Pizzeria Favo, and as more restaurant owners look to Chipotle as a business model, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a fast-casual dining spot on every block.” -- Laura Rebecca Kenyon is a contributing food writer at City Newspaper and a 2015 Association of Food Journalists Award Winner
“I think there will be a continued drive for intensity of flavor and the courage to experiment with bizarre flavor combinations - think savory and salt balanced cocktails, atypical or forgotten spices, and bold choices for flavor across food, beer, coffee roasting, and more. As Rochester becomes increasingly recognized beyond Western New York as a hub for quality food and drink, I think we will start to see deliberate collaboration between our local producers and more consumer-focused options that combine the diverse powers of all Rochester's talent.” -- Brenna McHugh, Northeast Regional Manager for Lejay Cassis, VP of the USBG Rochester.
“We will see more local restaurateurs opening second or more locations and/or different concepts. I see an opportunity for local eateries to push out the national chains and take over the local food scene. Also, as cocktails have already paved the way, I foresee food menus shifting toward a similar more old-fashioned or traditional theme with the reappearance of once-forgotten classics. I also predict that we will see tipping go away, or at least experimented with by using alternate methods to benefit both the business owner and employees.” -- Amanda Antinore, freelance food writer/restaurant critic
(ICYMI: HERE IS OUR WISH LIST FOR THIS YEAR.)
HAVE YOUR OWN PREDICTIONS FOR THIS YEAR? COMMENT BELOW!
**Was once a fake Yelp location used as a practical joke. Not an actual thing. (Sorry if we crushed your hopes and dreams.)