2016’s Fast Casual Revolution
Yes, we had some great restaurants open in the past year. 2016 saw two new entries into the top 10 of our 50 Best Restaurants list (Double Knot and Wm. Mulherin’s Sons) and a slew of other newcomers coming in lower. There were great events, some really cool collaborations, and meals that we’ll remember for years. But if we had to name one thing that truly defined 2016’s place in the course of Philly restaurant history, it would be the rise of fast casual as the way that we all want to eat right now.
As a matter of fact, fast casual was such a big thing that we gave it its own section on Foobooz: Our Fast Casual Tracker. This was our way of keeping track of everything happening in this volatile quarter of the industry. But it wasn’t all we did. Below is a round-up of everything we did to catalog, quantify and categorize what was happening in Philly’s fast casual restaurant scene in 2016. A guide to the many guides we created or updated throughout the year in an attempt to get a handle on this movement, and it begins with the most important of them …
Updated every time we hear about a new shift in this vital but volatile market, the Foobooz Fast Casual Tracker is a one-stop shop for information on all your favorite, locally-grown mini-chains and what they’re up to both in Philly and nationwide.
The sandwich remains one of mankind’s greatest inventions. What’s more, it’s being re-invented on an almost daily basis in the kitchens of Philadelphia. So if you’re looking to grab one to go, this is your list of the best.
Because sometimes the best taco is the one that’s right down the street. And sometimes it’s that perfect al pastor taco served all the way across town in a cart that’s only open a few months out of the year.
Because when you’re talking about a fast casual revolution, the best meals you’re going to find are probably going to come in bowls. Hell, even Double Knot (one of the best restaurant in Philadelphia on any list) got into the game, with their bowl-based lunch service.
Sausage rolls at Stargazy, make-your-own mac and cheese bowls at Mac Mart, hummus at Dizengoff or a bag of take-out dumpling from Humpty’s Dumplings. If you haven’t tried all of these yet then, well, you’re running out of time, friend…
And while we’re talking about wrapping up 2016’s biggest trends, we should probably take a look at what’s coming in 2017, too. Because while we’re absolutely sure that fast casual is going to continue to exert a major force on the economics of our restaurant scene, that’s only one of the things we’re predicting.
So if you’re interested in virtual restaurants, the continuing impact of vegan dining in this meat-loving city, the rise of the suburbs as viable dining destinations, craft spirits, the business model of the all-day cafe or the five ingredients that you’re going to see all over menus in 2017, this is where to read all about it.