The return and triumph of the 'fast casual'
Fast casual. Live fast food, but good. The immediacy with quality. The elegant hamburgers. The gourmet sandwiches. Great chefs seek success in sophisticated chain restaurants. New York is the proof of the revival of this gastronomic concept.
It was in the late nineties when someone easily tagged trends came up with the fast casual. Wikipedia says that someone was Paul Barron, who coined it when he created the web in 1997 Fastcasual.com which still functions as the main source of information for this type of gastronomic trend.
He fast casual He was born then in response to fast food and at fine dining and evolution of casual dining. A perfect hybrid that condenses all the values of the eating habits of the average Americans, but that now in this rebirth that is living has been extended to all social classes and cooks. American specialized media consider it the great gastronomic trend launched in 2015 and which will explode in 2016, although they refer to the appearance of Chipotle or Shake Shack a decade ago to explain the origins of this boom of chains (or almost chains) of restaurants in Short menu, no table service, fast and good price in a nice place.
Shake Shack's (but organic) meat pleasure © Instagram @indulgenteats
They are, to simplify, the worst enemy of McDonald's and other fast food chains. But also a concept that diners, or neighborhood restaurants, look suspiciously. And how do they differ from each other? For all this:
Happy chickens and cows
Quality is everything. It is his greatest asset against the chains of fast food. Sites like Shake shack, created by Danny Meyer (the same behind Eleven madison, one of the most famous luxury restaurants in New York) or Fuku, by David Chang, say that the chickens and cows that serve as delicious hamburgers have had a full life. They are almost always local product and of course, organic.
Shake Shack Way of Life © Instagram @therealtmilkovitz
Your advantage over the restaurants of casual dining. You go in, ask, they give it to you and you sit down or you take it with you. Pim, pam, pum. So it should be. The problem appears when the site is so popular that the queue to ask is eternal. It is what continues to happen at peak times in any Shake Shack, the daily bread in Fuku or in Superiority Burger.
On a site of fast casual you should not pay more than 20 dollars For the total of your food. Be it sandwiches, hamburgers or a pasta dish. It is part of the success. And part of the complicated part of the matter. Great chefs want a piece of the cake of this booming trend and must find products, dishes or methods that make your kitchen cheaper, usually expensive or not available to everyone. David Chang got it with Fuku: the place where only fried chicken is served on a sandwich. It was so good that he has already opened a new branch in New York: Fuku +. And think to continue expanding.
David Chang's Fast Experiment © Fuku
It is the road to low price and speed. Short menu, or not so much, but with a key concept. If we are hamburgers, we are hamburgers. And from there the complements, their varieties. But they always extend the menu from the star food. How Parm, the local Major Food Group which opened its first position in Mulberry in 2011 focusing on the Italian-American sandwich. From there they have expanded to have a menu that includes pasta dishes in their Upper West Side and Battery Park branches.
It is not a Warhol. Although it could be. © Parm
It is one of the main legs of the revival of fast casual. The idea that fast food does not mean junk food has led to the commitment to Vegetables and veggies. The success of the vegetarian hamburger from Superiority Burger in New York this explains it. And so does the chef's foray Jose Andres in this sector with its last location in Washington, Beefsteak, in which you have invested up Gwyneth Paltrow, giving us more reasons to believe in this trend. Despite the name, in Beefsteak they only serve vegetables made at the time and served in a bowl.
Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, the current owners of Eleven madison and the NoMad restaurant will also open a site in New York this year fast casual vegetarian: Made Nice
It's called 'meat' but it isn't © Beefsteak
Or cuquismo. OR Instagram friendly. Whatever you want to call it. But if the place in question has its own style, a nice and functional design, a nice corner, some colorful chairs. Something. Whatever is. Earn points. It is an important point to keep that distance from the usual fast food chains.
The bols and the poké
The last two reasons to understand this revival, as we told you a few months ago in the foodies trends They would petar it. The bowl is the new combination plate. The perfect tool for the fusion of flavors. The ideal ration for a fast but casual meal. And very pro-Instagram. Well, that. And, in addition, it has allied with the latest trend: the poké Raw fish, usually tuna, cut into pieces and macerated from Hawaii. There are already three restaurants with aspirations of becoming a chain that only serve poké: Pokéworks and Wisefish Poké have just opened in New York; and Sweetfin, from Santa Monica in Los Angeles, stares at the East Coast.