Consider These Tips When Adjusting Your Winter Menu

Consider These Tips When Adjusting Your Winter Menu

As the chillier months hit most of the states, it is time to make menu changes to keep dishes relevant. Winter menu planning is now. Delicate zucchini, little heirloom tomatoes and sweet berries are heading south for the winter. Dig deep to pull out the more burly elements of your repertoire.

Is Seasonality Real?

We still serve tomatoes on a burger, even in February. So seasonal menu changes aren’t always the only impetus to change. Rather, bending around customers’ desire to beef-up their plates makes sense for this time of the year. Reflect those changing tastes to keep seats full and not look like you missed the flow of the seasons. Baked and roasted dishes, for instance, play on the sentiment of the season versus simply grilled or chilled preparations. Chicago’s Boka gets all seasonal with cold weather’s shiny elements, like caramelized celery root and cabbage with their roasted venison dish. And their roasted chicken is equally winterized with preserved mushrooms, rutabaga and delicata squash.

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The Urban Farmhouse: Bringing the Farm to the City

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Coming from a number of fast food chains, Kathleen Richardson knew a thing or two about the business, but she wanted to do something a little different. So she dove back into her hometown of Richmond, Virginia and opened a fast casual of her own, The Urban Farmhouse Market & Café. Founded in 2010, the mission behind The Urban Farmhouse is to bring the farm to the city and suburbs while providing customers with local, wholesome food. Though their menu is not outrageously unique, the way each menu item is made is what makes them stand out.

“For almost all of our salads, salad dressings, sandwich ingredients, we either prepare or cut here on the premises. That to me is a difference that I feel is important in defining fast casual.”

Redefining fast casual seems to be a theme here. Coming from McDonald's, Richardson knew a lot about limited time offers (LTO’s) but at The Urban Farmhouse Market & Café, LTO’s don’t exist. Instead, Urban Farmhouse changes their menus seven times a year, in accordance with the Virginia growing calendar.

In addition to using local farmers and producers as their purveyors, The Urban Farmhouse expands on its dedication to local by showcasing local artisanal products like beer, chocolates, and almonds. As Kathleen explains, they don’t do anything the easy way. “You’re working with this local for this one product, this local… Doing that for 20 different products versus being able to call up one distributor and getting all of that there. It’s time-consuming, it’s a lot of paperwork but it’s kind of who we are. We can’t be any different.”

Learn more about The Urban Farmhouse Market & Café on this episode of Fast Casual Nation.