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Not that we think the industry gathers en masse at the start of each year to determine the du jour dish is going to be hot chicken, but there’s no denying—a handful of food themes tend to dominate the restaurant world every 365 days or so. And these are the trends that shaped 2016, from wood-fired everything, to a campaign against waste. Waste Not Want Not   Dan Barber set the stage with his WastED pop-up last year...
Just because 2015 is officially behind us, that doesn’t mean our dining habits will change on a dime. In fact, most of last year’s persistent restaurant trends—no tipping, whole grains, okonomiyaki, seaweed—will remain explicitly omnipresent in the coming months. They’ll just be joined (or in the case of fried chicken, eventually overtaken), by movements burbling just under the surface, from an increased appreciation of veggie burgers and a stage for African spice to an enhanced, all-in effort...
If you were to separate 2015 into four distinct, food trend-driven seasons, you’d likely come up with lobster thermidor winter, okonomiyaki spring, chicken sandwich summer and baked potato fall. But save for those fluffy, invariably fleeting obsessions, many of the year’s major culinary shifts will likely have bearing on how we eat in the long term, from sustainable seaweed and locally sourced grains to increased implementation of a game-changing no tipping policy. Fried Chicken Sandwich...
Fried chicken sandwiches certainly had their moment this past summer, set into motion by the frenzy surrounding Fuku, and sustained throughout the season by Shake Shack, Mighty Quinn’s, and lord help us—Micky D’s. But of the countless “best of” lists that followed, not a one of them name-checked The Heyward in Williamsburg, whose own combination of bird plus bread proved an admirable contribution to the craze. Both marinated with and slathered in a punchy piquillo...

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