Last year, Denver alone saw hundreds of restaurant openings, and unfortunately, more than 100 restaurant closures as well. The restaurant scene continues to expand and change nationwide, and so too, do dining trends. In 2017, we saw edible insects, green walls, a huge uptick in house- and scratch-made ingredients and more. We can expect just as much, if not more, with this year’s restaurant and dining trends. Below, check out some of what we can expect and a lot that we’re excited about in 2018.

Food, Drink & Menu Trends
House-made condiments
So long bottled ketchup, mustard and hot sauce – chefs are expected to whip up their own condiments this year. We’re here for the curry ketchup, Bavarian mustard and fruit-based hot sauce!

Vegetable carb substitutes
As consumers become more health conscious, they’re in search of alternatives to their favorites like pasta, rice, etc. We’ve been whipping up spaghetti squash and cauliflower rice in our kitchens at home, but the National Restaurant Association is expecting to see items like this on restaurant menus much more often this year.

House-made pickles
This year is going to see a focus on gut health according to BBC, so in-house pickling and fermenting is gaining momentum.

Maybe we all had too much to drink in 2017, but mocktails are on the rise this year. Whether they’re juices, agua frescas or housemade sodas, non-alcoholic beverages just may be the craft cocktail of 2018.

Sparkling beverages
As an office of La Croix devotees, we’re both skeptical and excited at the prospect of new bubbly options coming onto the market. Whole Foods is reporting that we’re about to see a whole new gamut of sparkling varietals hitting the shelves and drink menus this year.

Concept Trends
Reduced food waste
Nose-to-tail butchery and cuisine was big last year, and this year – continuing to reduce food waste – will see root-to-stem cuisine become mainstream. Making use of entire fruits and vegetables, Whole Foods is predicting more beet-green pesto and broccoli-stem slaw. We’re (eagerly) anticipating a slew of veggie-centric and plant-forward dishes.

Healing through food
Though not an entirely new concept, especially to the East, Food & Drink Resources reports that more and more chefs are looking at overall wellbeing through the food they create and serve. Expect more dishes, and even beverages, to aid in gut health, inflammation, fatigue and more.

Design Trends
In a time where consumers are looking to their peers for restaurant recommendations, social media is key. Instagrammable moments are important for brand recognition, and they’re soon to be much more evident. Experts predict we’ll see a lot of brilliant colors in plated food, neon signs, triple the latte art (less the glitter), bespoke lighting and much more this year.

Less is more
While our Instagram feed will be chalk full of zoomed in moments from our favorite dining experiences in 2018, zoom out and you’ll find design will be overall more simplistic. Architectural Digest is reporting that craftsmanship will be highlighted over dramatic wallpapers, ornate corners and extravagant color schemes.

We’ve welcomed 2018 with open arms – meaning, our hands are already full of pickled veggies and sparkling mocktails. Did we miss something you’re excited about? Tell us (though, we might need an extra hand)!