Because menu tweaks, additions and subtractions are an ever-present part of running a restaurant business, figuring out what will work can be a challenge. So we asked this year’s Top 100 Independents winners what worked for them in the last calendar year.
While the list of new menu items was a mixed bag, some trends did poke through. Notably, the vast majority of the successful new menu items were seafood appetizers and entrees—both traditional fish as well as shellfish. With beef prices still sky high, even the steakhouses are turning to the sea for some high-end—and high-ticket—menu adds.
Additionally, descriptors such as “crispy” (at least at Tao and its sister concepts) and “seasonal” seemed to resonate in the dish names.
Check out the full slideshow to find out what the industry’s highest-growing independents said were their most successful menu additions.