Food

Trend No. 4

Tiny Dining

Posted

For a long time, bigger was better. Not so anymore. Just think about how ridiculous people still driving Hummers look on the highway nowadays, when in the past there was a contingency of people who believed those monster SUVs were $80,000 well spent. Blame the economy, or a cultural groundswell for quality over quantity, but small is in fashion nowadays. This has translated to the restaurant industry, as well. Just look at the proliferation of small plates menus. Downtown, The Dorrance, Tazza, Flan y Ajo and Bodega Malasana all serve tapas or a selection of little bites. The same goes for Succotash in the Jewelry District, Cook and Brown’s bar menu on the East Side... really more places than you can count.

But, the trend extends beyond just little food. Tiny restaurants have been popping up all over town. On the West Side, Kitchen opened earlier this year, serving breakfast and lunch to just over a dozen possible people at a time. So too with north, a restaurant serving innovative food that can best be described as “chef porn” in Luongo Square. It accommodates only about two dozen in a sitting. The same goes for Fratelli’s (a burger and gelato joint in the Biltmore Garage development) and Figidini (a wood-grilled pizzeria next door to Fratelli’s). birch, Ben Sukle’s new restaurant that’s in the old Tini space, continues the emphasis on delicate food in a small setting: the communal bar, the restaurant’s only seating, holds just under 20 patrons.

Why? The short answer is sustainability. Smaller restaurants equal lower costs. The longer answer, though, has to do with quality control – turning out 20 dinners in an hour allows chefs to be much more meticulous than if they were serving double or triple that – and connectedness to customers. Dining in a small restaurant is an intimate experience: no guest is forgotten, no unhappy diner overlooked. It’s easier to get recommendations from your server, to talk about how your food is prepared. Given the larger culinary trend toward total knowledge about your meal, that’s no small thing. Find Bodega Malasana, Kitchen, Fratelli’s and Figidini on Facebook. 

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