The Food of Now


Nick Lami

Chipotle and Urban Fire

Nick Lami, Writer

Gluten free, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat…… words/phrases that our parents couldn’t pick out of a dictionary during their childhoods. But the world of food is changing and words like “Gluten Free” are becoming standards on all packaging, even those that don’t contain any grain. Healthy and happy is starting to become the new normal when it comes to fast food and the famous McDonald’s arches are being cast into the shadows. Our parents might have hung out at the local Burger King to get a cheap bite before heading to a movie, but the young Americans of today would rather wait an extra moment and pay an extra couple bucks to get the freshness and realness that Chipotle can give you.

The new wave of restaurants are being dubbed “Fast Casual” and are the latest buzz. Customization and freshness have been the key to success for many of these fast serving restaurants. The simple of appeal of real utensils and a real plate take the luxury of eating at a fast food restaurant to a whole new level. Coupled with the new interior design of modern, open, but industrial has created a family room that young adults can’t get enough of. During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the meat and potatoes might have been a simple cheese burger or fried chicken but the “meat and potatoes” for the Millennials of today includes a packed burrito with fresh guacamole and maybe even fresh baked goods from panera.

A 5% spike in fast casual dining compared to a flat line at fast food restaurants proves a clear shift that is taking place. But, fast food won’t go down without a fight; Wendy’s has made a big push for healthier and cleaner dining by introducing many flavorful salads and updated stores that even contain fake fire places. Mcdonald’s even clicked the panic button when it recently announced that breakfast would be served all day long. Technology could also be one of the reasons for the rapid shift. Food is fresher for longer, cooked healthier, and is put on the table faster. One thing is for sure: The U.S. will pay more for healthier and fresher fast food.