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January 15, 2021 — Okay, so we’re a couple weeks into 2021 — and what a ride it’s been already. Still, the world keeps turning and as we look to the future, we are excited about a myriad of fun, delicious and healthful food trends on the horizon or coming into full swing this year. Check below and then hit us up on social with some of your favorite food and beverage trends happening right now.

Superfoods! More important than ever, with a relentless and raging pandemic, health and wellness is a top priority. Foods we want to eat daily are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Blueberries, Avocados, Bananas, Green Tea, pomegranate, Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli, are just some. A good go to: Fuel Healthy Kitchen with three locations around the city, University City, Midtown and East Passyunk Avenue’s bustling corridor.  Primary Plant Based, the pop-up ghost concept from Chef Mark McKinney at Khyber Pass Pub offers a myriad of health-focused plant-based delicious dishes. Staying healthy won’t save you from COVID, but it could help, and certainly can’t hurt.

Plant Based Foods! Which leads us directly into eating less or no meat with the help of plant-based food. Maybe you’re committing to Meatless Mondays this year, or going full on vegan — either way eating less meat is good for the body as well as the environment. Either way,  we’re seeing more meat eaters enjoying the occasional plant-based protein.  Check out Punk’d Burger on East Passuynk Avenue, Fuel Healthy Kitchen, Triangle Tavern — and of course Primary Plant Based.

Pivots & Pop Ups!  As we all wait for our vaccines, smaller concepts in particular, continue to go into full on pivot mode / or offer fun and delicious concepts  Check out Chef Mike Stollenwerk’s Little Hen Market in Haddonfield, NJ with a bevy of French fare and cookware. Back on East Passyunk, Chef Lee Styer mans his self-built grill outside his 3-bell restaurant  Fond, at 11th & Tasker, and is selling house-made sausage sandwiches, cheesesteaks, soups and Brie en Croûte — this super gooey and delicious French take on decadent grilled cheese.  While The Twisted Tail is sporting a ghost concept with What’s the Catch?, a fun Fish ‘n’ Chip concept that just launched and pays homage to owner George Reilly’s British Roots. And stay tuned for another Soul Food Pop Up from Chef Kevin Waaters at The Dutch.

Comfort Foods  / Nostalgia / Indulgence : As some restaurants start to open back up in Philadelphia, first at 25% starting this weekend, folks are craving luxury, indulgence and familiar foods such as the rich and creamy mac ‘n’ cheese at Urban Farmer, making the perfect side to a perfectly aged sizzling steak. Step upstairs on weekends this winter and enjoy spectacular  views and a glass of bubbles among the firepits at Assembly Rooftop Lounge.

Culinary Adventure / Exploring the world via Food & Beverage! We can’t wait for Sor Ynéz —the super-dynamic restaurant opening this year with a focus on ingredients used by the Aztec and vegetable friendly. Or folks might opt to explore the world via beverage via the global vineyard known as Jet Wine Bar with orange wines from the country of Georgia and other finds on Jill Weber’s spectacularly curated list of bottle offerings. Those looking for a full on French experience with a modern and creative twist with upbeat environs should snag a reservation at Chef Christopher Kearse’s Forsythia in Old City for food that is spectacularly presented and just a delicious and creative. The FOH team here with GM Jennifer Camela and Lead Bartender Tomas Oliver are crushing a progressive bar program filled with pet naps, clarified cocktails and so much more.

No Booze Booze: Sure, we’ve seen (and maybe even tasted) the  gin-like no-booze booze Seedlip and explored the lowest of ABV cocktails, and now the team at Old City’s Art in the Age have brought together one of the country’s best collections of non-alcohol aperitifs and tonics from Ghia, Sōm and others. Also look for a great collection of 0 abv bitters and sodas from The Bitter Housewife, and CBD canned Alpine Berry beverage from Dram. Or try the Sparkling Botanical Turmeric Saffron by Rishi.

Ghost Kitchens — So  many ghost kitchens have been popping up, which is a great way for restaurateurs to test drive new concepts and pivot to all to-go. Check out the multitude of offerings from The Commons in University City. This virtual food hall — with a plethora of offerings under one roof from the highly acclaimed Walnut Street Café to brand new concepts and flavors with Ghost Chicken, Philadelphia Wing Shop, Maude & Mable’s Fine Creamy among the mix.

— James Zeleniak

JZ is the Founder of PUNCH Media — a lifestyle PR and communications firm in Old City, Philadelphia. PUNCH Media is Philadelphia’s premiere food and beverage PR firm and is always on the watch for the latest trends, while staying grounded in excellence, in whatever form that may take.