If you’re a restaurant owner looking for some unusual ways to get more customers to beat a path to your door, look into serving Midwestern food. No joke — the food of Flyover Country is comforting and really quite healthy in a lot of ways. It’s also one of the hotter trends in cooking, so if you can create a good menu with favorite regional dishes, you could find a loyal clientele showing up at your establishment, especially if you’re not in the Midwest but are surrounded by homesick transplants.
American Comfort Food
Midwestern food is actually what people are thinking of when they think of American food in general, according to AllRecipes. This is the casserole- and pie-filled cuisine of the Plains States, though there are many, many other dishes just waiting to be introduced to your customers. The cuisine has been relatively untouched in the restaurant world until now because it’s sometimes seen as a home-cooked cuisine — not the sort of thing you’d think of when going to eat out.
But many restaurants are successful while serving different variations of comfort food, and Midwestern food is yet another option. From St. Louis toasted ravioli to juneberries to butter cake, there are many dishes just waiting to be introduced to the rest of the country.
Not a Homogeneous Region
And if your restaurant is already in the Midwest, then you know how diverse the foods are — and you’ll still have plenty of recipes to show off to your customers. If you’re in Missouri, showcase the Dakotas. If you’re in the Dakotas, showcase Ohioan foods. You have a lot of options.
Best of all are the dishes that have clear ethnic roots, like Scandinavian-based dishes in the Plains, or Cornish-pasty cousins in the eastern Midwest/Great Lakes border region. Russian, German, and other settlers brought their own foods over that gradually changed as more local ingredients were substituted.
Back to the Basics
In Midwestern cooking, all the ingredients are recognizable, and the ingredients are often easy to source locally. The cuisine is one of using what you have in creative ways, which can be a welcome atmosphere if you’re in a city where the economy is having issues. This is no-nonsense food meant to power people through hard work.
Start investigating Midwestern recipes and see which ones are similar to your current big sellers. If you sell a lot of desserts, start making butter cakes, kuchen, and other Midwestern sweets. If your customers run toward the fish and game crowd, look for bison and barbecue styles. The Midwest is full of foods just waiting for more recognition.