Beef prices are on the rise and are expected to go higher; meanwhile, nutrition experts tout the health benefits of eating a diet high in veggies, fruit and whole grains.

So why are burgers still so popular?

The year began with news that Americans were eating more burgers, opting for affordable fast-food favorites for some meals while also willing to get experimental and sometimes pay a little bit more for premium options, as American Express’ Open Forum reported in January.

The better burger trend has flourished this year, in markets big and small, as the Boston Globe reported in July. And, even when it seems there must be enough burger joints and chains to feed the craving, chefs such as Evan Deluty of the popular Stella Italian restaurant say they’ll add to the mix with new burger places. “So many of these trends dive in and dive out. It was nouvelle cuisine in the ’80s and back to French in the ’90s, Italian in the late ’90s and early 2000s, and Mexican a few years ago. But who doesn’t love to go have a great burger for eight or nine bucks?” he told the Globe.

As chefs work to create signature burger concepts, chains including Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Smashburger and others continue their rapid growth. Some set themselves apart, like Smashburger’s tradition of creating a signature burger each time it enters a new market. The latest: bacon- and baby arugula-topped patty on a brioche bun called “The Capital Burger” to mark the chain’s entry into the D.C. market, as The Washington Post reported last month.

BurgerBusiness recently reported on the growing trend of replacing the PB&J with the PB&B, including bacon in the recipe, such as the Peanut Butter-Pickle-Bacon Burger at Killer Burger in Portland, Ore. and the beef burger topped with peanut butter, bacon, fried egg and cheddar at Chicago’s Beer Bistro. Then there’s also the Smores burger at River City Cafe in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a confectionary burger topped with peanut butter, marshmallow and Nutella.

BurgerBusiness also reported another story that speaks to a burger trend. Denny’s is bringing back its BYO Burger menu because customers increasingly want the ability to customize their burgers, said CEO John Miller. The chain is making them a permanent addition to the new menu when it comes out in January.

Are your burger-loving customers craving something new or looking for the comfort of familiar flavors? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image credit: drewhadley via iStockphoto

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