Brews, burgers, brunch and more
Trendy foods that you can find locally

By EILEEN MOZINSKI SCHMIDT - Special to The Freeman

Dec. 9, 2015

A recent order of the Impossible Burger, made of wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme (an iron-containing compound,) at Point Burger Bar in Pewaukee. 
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA - Food trends travel faster these days, bolstered by a well-connected population with access to tools like social media.

International flavors are increasingly more appreciated throughout the U.S.  Foods from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Latin America are expected to have the largest impact on the national food scene in the coming year, according to a 2018 trends report from Les Dames D’Escoffier International (LDEI), a society of women in the food and beverage industry.

The report was shared online in June by Foodservice Consultants Society International.

Other trends making in-roads across the nation are farm-to-table offerings, ancient grains, and chef-driven fast casual dining, the report said.

At Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee, General Manager Ross Easton is seeing a greater demand among customers for healthy selections and in products that meet specific dietary needs.

“There’s definitely more interest in healthier choices, which we offer being an organic cafe and grocery,” he said.

The LDEI report also found that establishments like Good Harvest Market, offering a hybrid of grocery shopping and dining options, are among the top retail trends in the food industry.

What other national food trends are making their way to the Midwest?

The Freeman checked in with some local establishments for reviews.

Nitro Brew Coffee

Nitro brews, cold beverages charged with nitrogen to create a coffee brew with a similar texture to a nitro draft beer, have been growing in popularity nationwide in recent years.

Sales of cold brew coffee jumped from $8.1 million in 2015 to $38.1 million in 2017, according to a recent article by Forbes, citing data from the market and consumer data reporting organization Statista.

At Roots Coffeebar & Cafe in Waukesha, the selection has been on the menu for about a year, according to Nathan Darrow, general manager.

“It’s been very popular,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people asking about it.”

Roots Coffeebar offers two kinds of nitro brews in the summer, a regular and a sweet and creamy oat milky and cane sugar selection.

“It’s more of (a) stronger coffee. When it pours from the kegs it is almost like a stout beer,” said Darrow, who said nitro brews tend to sell more frequently in the warmer summer months.

He said it is a drink best enjoyed slowly, in order to appreciate the variety of flavors.

“To me, it is more like something you would sip in the afternoon, not really something you’d chug, like an iced coffee,” he said.

The Impossible Burger

Impossible Burgers, made from plant-based meats, are also gaining traction.

The Impossible Foods Inc., a California-based company launched in 2016, develops plant-based meat and dairy selections with a goal of creating a more sustainable global food system, according to its website.

The Impossible Burger is made of wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, and heme (an iron-containing compound) and is now available in over a thousand restaurants nationwide, the site said.

One of those is Point Burger Bar in Pewaukee, where the Impossible Burger has a permanent spot on the menu.

“I would say there is a pretty high demand for it,” said Patrick Ward, assistant general manager.

He said the restaurant has been offering the burger for a year and overall, the response has been positive.

Most of those ordering the Impossible Burger are vegan, but Ward said there are a few others who have ordered it to try it.

“For as many beef and lamb and bison orders we get, we do also get a lot of the impossible burger,” he said, describing the burger’s taste as similar to a beef short rib roast.

“I’ll eat it for lunch or dinner every once and awhile, I think the flavor is that good,” he said. “There’s a surprising depth of flavor.”


Although not a new trend conceptually, the number of diners looking for an extended brunch with wider menu offerings is growing.

The top trends in brunch menus in the U.S. in 2018 are ethnic-inspired breakfast items like Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes, along with avocado toast, overnight oats, and breakfast hash, according to Statisa.

At Good Harvest Market, Easton said the Saturday and Sunday brunches - offered from when the store opens on the weekend until 3 p.m. - have “always been popular” and one of the strongest parts of the week at the cafe.

But Easton is seeing brunch offered in a growing number of establishments in the area.

“We’re seeing more and more restaurants adding brunch that didn’t have it in the past,” he said.

‘Foodie’ rankings

The Milwaukee metro ranks 24th and Madison 78th in an accounting of the “best foodie cities in America” in a recent report by WalletHub, a credit accounting and credit score website.

The report focused on those who “crave new and different flavors” and the experience of “eating, learning and discovering food.”

The Milwaukee area ranked 6th in the nation for affordability and 42nd for diversity, accessibility and quality, the report said.

Among the findings, Milwaukee came in 4th in the nation for lowest average beer and wine prices.