The fall not only brings a change in weather, but it also opens up a world of new dishes and flavors for a menu. From comfort foods to tasty beverages, there are many autumn-inspired options to make your restaurant, pub or cafeteria popular throughout the season. Need a little help planning your choices this year? We have a quick list of fall restaurant menu ideas and flavors to try in 2019.
Paging Pumpkin Spice
From coffee shops to restaurants, the pumpkin spice craze continues to take the world by storm. Everywhere from Starbucks to Krispy Kreme has already rolled out this popular fall flavor. Try to introduce some offerings that last through November. For instance, adding a selection of pumpkin spice treats on the dessert menu like donuts, cookies or cupcakes will definitely catch your customers’ eyes. While desserts and lattes are any easy win, you can always do something outside the box. A deliciously flavored pumpkin spice vinaigrette can top a wide variety of fresh salads.
While it might be tempting, try not to go too overboard. A lot of chains and small establishments are likely going all in on pumpkin spice, so think of another unique flavor to help your place stand out from the rest. Maybe go with our next idea…
While pumpkin spice continues to get most of the love, Maple has always been a mainstay in the fall. In an interview with Moneyish, New York restaurant consultant Jason Kaplan described maple as one of the most versatile flavors you can add to a fall menu.
“You can put it into anything from a beverage, to a dessert and even bacon,” Kaplan told Moneyish. “It works really well with a whole bunch of components to offset sweet, salty and sour flavor profiles and adds a very comforting, warm fall feel to it.”
While there are plenty of dessert ideas you can make, think of entrees and appetizers where you can incorporate maple flavoring. Consider using a maple glaze on meats like chicken or pork chops, or create a syrup blend that can go on sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Instead of pumpkin spice, a maple latte is the perfect morning or after-dinner drink to offer your patrons.
Be a Smarty, Make It Hearty
Comfort food should be a key staple of your fall restaurant menu, and these items can stay throughout the winter too. In fact, some restaurants have already jumped on board with special items this time of year, including Boston Market who introduced the sesame rotisserie chicken. There are many hearty dishes sure to satisfy any customer, especially when the temperature starts to get cooler. Think about offering pot pies and skillet dishes. Both seamlessly blend all the essentials of a delicious meal into one filling recipe.
Also, consider entrees that feature meat, veggies and a starch like rice, noodles or potatoes. For example, a pot roast or meatloaf meal with carrots, roasted potatoes and gravy is perfectly savory for the season. Looking for vegetarian or vegan options to include? A vegetable-based couscous or risotto dish is always a sure bet.
Savor the Soups and Stews
Sticking with the hearty theme, soups and stews always make a great addition to a fall restaurant menu. Many establishments love to offer butternut squash and minestrone soups as a pre-entrée starter, but think of doing some different. A roasted cauliflower or creamy chicken soup with carrots, celery and mushroom feature the perfect blend of fall flavors.
Stews often make a good lunch or dinner entrée. Instead of offering the traditional beef stew, try something that uses chicken, pork or sausage. You even can got meatless by using hearty alternatives like quinoa, chickpeas, lentils or squash.
An Autumn Apple a Day…
There’s no doubt that apples and fall go hand in hand. From cider and spreads to pies and breads, the options are endless when it comes to your autumn-inspired menu. Apple crisps or tarts with ice cream are always a crowd-pleasing dessert, and apple muffins do the trick either in a standalone or balanced breakfast.
If you’re looking for other ways to include apple, consider a glaze for entrée with pork chops or chicken. The flavor not only brings out that fall feeling, but it pairs nicely with both sweet and savory sides. For side dishes, think about whipping up a refreshing apple slaw or salad that goes with ingredients like cabbage, cranberries and cinnamon. What about the drink menu? Forbes’ Aly Walansky recently listed some delicious fall cocktails, which included many options featuring some sort of apple flavor.