The gourmet burger trend continues to flourish from coast to coast, despite some skepticism about its longevity. This list maps 11 chains to watch across the country, including 21-unit Jake's Wayback Burgers, a Connecticut-based concept that features a "burger of the month," and San Diego's Burger Lounge, whose four restaurants have a simple menu and a focus on grass-fed beef.
Father-and-son team David "Liang Pi" Shi and Jason Wang launched Xi'an Famous Foods five years ago as a tiny food stall in a basement in Flushing, Queens, N.Y. Today, they have four small restaurants and are creating a 5,000-square-foot production facility that will produce noodles for about a dozen restaurants and frozen products they hope to sell at grocery stores.
Quickservice chains with 20 or more stores technically have until Saturday to post calorie counts on their menus under a new state law. Many, including McDonald's, IHOP and Fuddruckers, have already added them. But federal guidelines due out in March will supersede the California law, and several counties say they don't plan to punish chains that put off compliance until then.
A pig breed from Hungary called Mangalitsa delivers pork with intense flavor and more fat than other breeds, making it a favorite among pork farmers, sellers and restaurants. They believe there is a large potential market in America. Currently the meat is available at specialty markets and high-end restaurants including French Laundry and Blue Hill at Stone Farms, but it is becoming more mainstream.
More farmers markets are staying open year-round as farmers take advantage of greenhouses, late plantings and other methods to prolong their growing seasons. In the past two years, the number of winter farmers markets has increased 17% to nearly 900 nationwide, according to the Agriculture Department.