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The Trends, Pivots, and Innovations We Want to See Continue in 2022

Streamlined takeout, Instagram-only chef concepts, and more equity are just a few things that are welcome back in the new year.

A takeout container of barbecue chicken and orange-tinted rice
Ramon Navarro started his takeout only chicken and rice program via Instagram during the pandemic
Courtesy of Ramon Navarro

“Not every place needs to be a market, but please continue selling me jars of your pickles.”
-Jordan Michelman, Sprudge co-founder and beverage writer

“The biggest trend was online ordering and streamlined take out. Rally Pizza really pulled this together quickly. I also like the restaurant as a grocery store model. I hope to see more of this one stop shop option.”
-Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland contributor, Washington correspondent

“I hope more places keep counter service rather than a full wait staff—I don’t necessarily need to be waited on all the time. (But I don’t love the QR-code ordering system, though I know it has its uses.) Scaled-down menus are also nice: Keep it simple and easy to order, easier for the staff to execute, and highlight only the best ingredients!”
-Blair Stenvick, Portland Mercury arts & culture editor

“So, so many Portland chefs and home cooks have started these virtual food businesses, where people can order delivery meals or takeout directly via Instagram dm. I think it really lowers the barrier of entry for people who want to start selling food to the public but don’t have $40,000 lying around (at least!) to open a food cart or restaurant. A lot of people who have done these sorts of things have also used the money they’ve saved to fund mutual aid projects, or offer free meals to food-insecure populations — that’s another innovative idea, as far as I’m concerned.”
-Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

“Many restaurants, like Mama Dút, Magna, and Mestizo, have hosted pop-ups on the days the restaurant is closed. I hope we see more of that in 2022. As someone who has pitched restaurants to serve more vegan food, it’s cool seeing places do that on their own or in Ben & Esther’s case, pivot to an entirely vegan concept. Even non-vegan food writers are starting to acknowledge that vegan food is going mainstream. I’m surprised we haven’t seen more worker co-ops like Mirisata. Maybe in 2022.”
-Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

“I liked the more established restaurants doing casual offshoots like with Andina and Chicha. And I guess Gado Gado with Oma’s Hideaway as well, which really took on a life of its own during the pandemic. I have no idea how Table22 will play out in reality but for a lazy person like me, I love the idea.”
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor

“I really like the Go Boxes that some restaurants have been using to serve their takeout meals. Portland has always been a pretty sustainable city in my eyes, so it has been pretty tragic seeing all of the waste that has been generated because of the pandemic. For businesses who continue to serve in takeaway and single-use serving vessels, I think the Go Boxes would be a great option for repeat customers and a way to mitigate this waste, as we will probably be doing this for another year or two, at the least.”
-Katrina Yentch, Eater Portland contributor

“There have been a lot of really sweet collaborative pop-ups lately—the Sam Smith and Luna Contreras friendship pop-up comes to mind, where they made potato tacos and pork achiote tacos together, and Dimo’s and Sebastiano’s made a really tasty-looking Thanksgiving takeout meal.”
-Katherine Chew Hamilton, Portland Monthly food editor

“Unions. Worker-owned restaurants. Focusing on more than just meat. Continued conversations on race, sex, equity, and the industry as a whole.”
-Alex Frane, Eater Portland guest editor and contributor

“I’m not sure if the events of 2020 were the catalyst for it, but I think the culinary incubator at Sugarpine is awesome. They’ve done two so far—Da Pine Grinds and Apizza Pine—and the objective of the project is to feature the talents/cuisines of Sugarpine’s team members and help them advance their careers.”
-Janey Wong, Portland Mercury food and drink columnist

“Two words: Cocktail. Delivery.”
-Bill Oakley, fast food influencer