Appetizers

No. 1 food trend for restaurants in 2014: Eggs

In restaurants coast to coast, prospects for 2014 appear sunny-side up. The No. 1 trend for American eateries? Eggs — and not just for breakfast.

“Overall, 2014 really will be the year of the egg,” predicted Christopher Krohn, president and CEO of Restaurant.com, the nation’s largest restaurant dining deals website.

Krohn and staff surveyed thousands of menu items from its stable of more than 15,000 restaurants nationwide before coming up with some trend predictions. One ingredient kept popping up to the top — eggs.

“We’ll see an explosion of egg dishes in 2014,” Krohn said. “Breakfast is obvious, but we’ll see eggs more and more at lunch and dinner, too. And it’s not just traditional egg dishes such as egg salad or quiche but eggs on top of burgers, pizza, pasta, casseroles, you name it — right on down the line.”

Eggs have managed to bounce back from their cholesterol-busting image, he noted. “They’re now seen as a healthy source of lean protein as concerns about cholesterol appear to be easing.”

“Breakfast for dinner” will continue to be hot and so will regional egg specialties such as Huevos Rancheros. Part of the appeal is eggs’ image as comfort food. It’s also an extremely versatile ingredient that fits into a wide variety of cuisines.

Farm-fresh eggs also can be locally sourced — which fits into Restaurant.com’s No. 2 trend, farm-to-fork dining. In its survey of member restaurants, 62 percent reported that they featured locally sourced produce in 2013.

“Sacramento is at the center of farm-to-fork (trends),” Krohn said. “But we’ll see that trend evolve in 2014 beyond local produce or locally sourced meat and dairy products to a farm fresh approach to preparing foods. It’s about minimal processing. We’ll see more food on restaurant tables that look like they could have been served on your grandmother’s table.”

Other major restaurant trends predicted for 2014: Tea as a flavoring or ingredient; greater variety of bread choices or baked goods; an increased emphasis on antioxidant-packed “super foods”; Mediterranean everything; fries as a basis for non-traditional toppings; and the use of internationally inspired hot sauces.

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