Trends without end, the final round: nanobreweries, restaurant economics and the demise of mixology
Samir Mohammad, executive chef, Lala's Pizzeria + Wine Bar
On artisans, cheese, pickling and mixology: I predict that chefs will go back to their artisan roots -- making cheese, curing meats, making their own pastas and baking their own breads, butchering whole animals, focusing on artisan farmers and staying as local as possible. I think we'll also see more rooftop gardens, restaurants growing their own herbs, and a lot more pickling and preserving. I think cheese, in particular, is going to become a real focal point in a lot of restaurants; it's so very underrated and deserves more attention, especially with all of the amazing artisan cheesemakers in our own back yard. When it comes to herbs, I think we'll see a lot more uncommon varieties -- things like lemon verbena, lemon balm, chervil, sorrel, chamomile, lovage, hyssop and angelica. I also see more chefs teaming up with mixologists to create amazing restaurants that really personify ultimate dining. For me, personally, I know I'll be focusing on keeping my food simple and looking back to the classics and putting a modern twist on them
On gluten-free diets: I think the gluten-free fad is going to fade -- yes, I know there are people with real celiac problems and I take it seriously, but it's still a fad, and not everyone who claims to have this disease is being honest.
Jorel Pierce, executive chef, Euclid Hall
On bigger cities and big-city chefs: I feel like we're going to see some repeat mistakes -- some critical mistakes -- namely, chefs from other cities moving to Denver and trying to initiate a new concept and then having to refocus their concepts over and over again to try to fit the necessity and find their niche. I feel like we have more and more of these big-shot chefs rolling into town in an attempt to prove themselves, while not really understanding what Denver wants -- which is good, honest food. To the new chefs who are coming to Denver: Bring the money and the better-than-we-are reputation -- the more the merrier - but understand that just because you're from a bigger city or have a big name doesn't mean that you understand what Denver wants or needs. Those of us who have been cooking here for a long time get it. We'll serve up the horse you rode in on -- get some.
Stefanie Jones, founder, Stefanie Jones | Public Relations, Inc.
On the surge of sandwiches: Masterpiece Deli has proven that Denver diners love a good sandwich and that the upscale sandwich concept can be successful. I think we're going to see a number of quality sandwich shops opening in 2013 serving high-end, house-cured and rotisserie meats, local cheeses, house-made jams, relishes and aiolis, and fresh baked breads. It's a concept that works well at any time of day.
On the whole beast: The nose-to-tail movement is going to be a much more significant trend in Denver in 2013 with restaurants like Kachina Southwestern Grill, Second Home Kitchen + Bar and soon, Beast & Bottle, all touting whole animal and in-house butchery programs. We'll see more unfamiliar cuts and preparations on Denver menus and an increase in farmer/shepherd dinners.
On going international: There's a lack of legit, non-trendy ethnic food in Denver, so I'm hoping that we see a resurgence of solid, authentic Indian, Thai and Korean restaurants that open and thrive in 2013.
206 E. 13th Ave., Denver, CO
837 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO
410 E. 7th Ave., Denver, CO
1317 14th St., Denver, CO
770 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO
2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO
2239 W. 30th Ave., Denver, CO