2019 top food trends: From CBD-infused pimento cheese to motherless meat

Photo by Jess Bentley
Yafo Kitchen hummus bowl with Baharat Spiced Beef and Pine nuts

From the next generation of fast casual to the mainstreaming of marijuana, restaurant and hotel consultancy Baum + Whiteman has released their latest report on the hottest food trends to watch in 2019.

Here are four trends from their list and how you can experience them in Charlotte:

Motherless meat: 

“Last year we proclaimed that ‘plant-based’ foods were among the top trends of 2018. That’s still true. But this year we’re shifting our view: Lab-grown meats and related proteins look like profound long-range game changers.” — Baum + Whiteman

I have not found lab-grown meats on any Charlotte menus just yet, but I’m sure it will pop up sometime in 2019. Anyone want to take a guess on which Queen City restaurant will be the first to adapt this trend? In the meantime, a veggie burger that tastes like the real thing is a great motherless substitute.

Duckworth’s Kitchen & Taphouse

4435 Park Road

Go for the Impossible Burger ($16), a 100% plant-based all natural patty that mimics the look, smell, texture and taste of beef (bonus: there’s zero cholesterol). Served with lettuce, tomato, onion and their Impossible Sauce.

[Related: We tried the Impossible Burger in Charlotte. Here’s the one place to find it.]

Photo by Katie Toussaint

Say hello to sour:

This year’s trendy flavor is predicted to be good ol’ mouth-puckering sour. From vinegar-based recipes (such as kimchi) to marinades and drinks (such as kombucha).


10920 Monroe Road

This Korean restaurant is located inside a marketplace, so if you didn’t know it was there, it would be easy to miss. This is not a place you’d go for the frills or over-the-top service; here you can expect just authentic fare. Try the Kimchi Pancake ($8) and Woo Guh Ji Gal Bi Tang ($10), a dish made of spicy short rib beef broth soup with special sauce Napa cabbage.

Photo via cklx1122 on Instagram

Lenny Boy Brewing Co.

3000 S. Tryon St.

This organic brewery specializes in traditional ales and lagers, fermented sours and wild ales along with seven year-round kombuchas. Kombucha can be purchased by the pint, in a flight, bottled, in a crowler, by the growler or even by the keg from the taproom. They also can be found at many Southeastern-based retailers such as Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and Earth Fare.

Photo via Lenny Boy Brewing Co.

Mainstreaming of marijuana:

From CBD-infused cocktails, kombucha and even pimento cheese, look for this trend to continue to grow through 2019. For CharlotteFive’s complete list, check out 10 places to find CBD-infused food and drink in Charlotte.

Moo & Brew

1300 Central Ave.

CBD menu items include:

  • Keep Off The Grass*: Angus beef, fried cheese curds, arugula, OG green vinaigrette, pickled green tomatoes, CBD aioli, with a regular side; $14.
  • Not Your Father’s Fries: Large portion of fries with CBD-infused oil drizzle, cascade shake, served with CBD aioli; $7.
  • Green Thumb Salad: Field green mix, pickled green tomatoes, diced cucumbers, green onions, avocado, roasted red peppers, cascade nuggets and the OG green vinaigrette; $12.

Note: The limited-time menu has limited quantities available per day.

[Related: Moo & Brew now has a new CBD-infused menu. Here’s what you need to know.]

Photo by Sallie Funderburk

Next generation of fast-casual: 

Consumers want high-quality ingredients in a jiffy. With the hustle and bustle of the work week, our generation of the workforce wants something fresh and delicious during their lunchtime crunch. These places put an emphasis on quality while still anticipating half or more of their food to be consumed off-premises, according to the report.

Yafo Kitchen

Multiple Locations

This fast-casual Charlotte restaurant offers a lot more than the typical fast-casual meal. “We believe fast can still be homemade and a thoughtfully crafted dish can still be a good value. We believe complex flavors should originate from simple ingredients”, Yafo Kitchen states on its website. You can truly taste the difference with their scratch-made hummus, authentic spices flown in from Israel and house-baked laffah made with local organic flour. Try one of their customizable hummus bowls ($8.99) with Baharat Spiced Beef and Pine Nuts.  Don’t forget to grab a locally brewed beer while you’re there to make your meal complete.

Photo by Jess Bentley


Here are a few more things to look forward to in 2019.

Oat milk craze wiping out other alt-dairy milks, probably boosting other oat products …Shiso leaf goes mainstream … After the last straw local governments launch war on Styrofoam … Food from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and other inaccessible places nearby …Edible flowers are back … Floral infusions in plain old water … Forget hash brownies —hemp and cannabis in cocktails, soft drinks, beer and everywhere else … Zhoug … Low-cal vegan ice cream … Umami-boosting, meat-aging Koji … More chefs taking on activist roles on environmental degradation, and disaster food relief (thank you Jose Andres) … Asian pastry/sandwich shops … Pour-your-own-beer systemsDuck and chicken liver preparations in restaurants that people trust … French cooking will make its annual comeback… No-alcohol cocktails at fancy martini prices … Jew-ish restaurant food continues its growth curve … Khatchapuri catching on … Hard seltzer … Sour Calamansi aka CalamondinTahini in unexpected places … Szechuan peppercorns reappear in Hot Pots and Dry PotsKing oyster mushrooms” – Michael Whiteman, president of Baum+Whiteman.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed a country that was not part of Baum + Whiteman‘s report on food trends under the “Stans”. The article has been updated.


  1. Ok, do not include Pakistan among food from the “stans.” The report you cited clearly mentioned former Soviet breakaway republics — Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan. Those are the countries people mean when they say “stans,” and their food is much different from Pakistani food, which is basically the same as Indian food with subtle differences. Food from the stans is more likely to resemble Eastern European or Turkish cuisine. I’m not sure Charlotte has any restaurant that fits into that category. But you really do not include Pakistan with the others.

    • Vance, I just wanted to let you know that you are super annoying. Your comments are always filled with negativity. Please stop the trolling for 2019!! Please….I beg you! Happy Monday!

      • Sorry Dave, but when something’s wrong, it’s wrong. I know you don’t mind. You’d probably be happy if the writer called a hot dog a hamburger, as long as everyone is nice and smiles alot and isn’t “negative.” But thinking people are different. We value accuracy in newsish articles. Google “the Stans” sometime. You won’t see Pakistan in there. Or, just mind your own business.

      • Here, let me help you out. Find articles covering the “Stans” from sites like Responsible Travel, Conde Nast Traveler and G Adventure. I apparently cannot include links on here. They refer to the “Five Stans,” or the “Five Stans of the Silk Road:” Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Those are the stans. They are all former Soviet republics. Pakistan is not, and neither is Afghanistan. That’s one reason they are not included among the stans for travel, cultural or food purposes. “Stan” is just an ancient Persian word that means country or home or homeland.

        You’re welcome for the lesson.

    • I agree with Dave. What’s the point of commenting on Charlotte 5 articles if all you do is complain. If you don’t like the site then leave! I really feel sorry for your wife. Anyways….great job Jess. Ignore the trolls.

      • Hi Bob. Or are you really Dave pretending to be Bob? Anyway, see my comment to Dave. The “Stans” does not include Pakistan anywhere but, apparently, here on C5. That’s the fact. You may not like facts. You may be happy to live in your own little lollipop world where everything is whatever you want it to be. If so, congratulations. If not, then don’t be upset when someone corrects errors. BTW, my wife is fine with me, but it’s nice to know you can take a simple comment about a food article and turn it into something personal. One day, when you grow up, you’ll move past all that.

  2. No need to make personal attacks – I have never seen Vance’s other comments so have no idea if there is a pattern. But I do agree in this instance that accuracy is important, and simply pointing out when something is incorrect (with sources) is not being negative. Facts do matter and I enjoy the Charlotte5 and would hope I can rely on them to do their homework. While I am sure Zafran is happy for the shout out, they deserve to be recognized for their own culture and cuisine.

    • Thanks Sarah. For the record, I’m not trying to “troll” anyone. Sometimes I’ll disagree with something here, or point out an error, but other times I offer praise for C5 articles. I guess Dave/Bob choose not to see the positive comments I’ve made.

      I have nothing against Jessica. I’m sure she’s a nice person, and I enjoy reading her articles. I looked at this article and thought to myself, “Cool, let’s see what the food trends are.” Then I saw the part about food from the stans and thought to myself, “Cool, I’d like to try that. Sounds good!” But then I saw Pakistan and it was a disappointment, because Pakistani food is not part of the “stans” food trend. There are plenty of places to get Indian/Pakistani food in the Charlotte area, and there have been for a couple of decades.

      The thing is, C5 is affiliated with the Charlotte Observer, which should have editors in place to catch these kinds of things. No writer is perfect. That’s why there are editors.

      Anyway, I appreciate your comment.

  3. So let me get this straight — a reader points out something inaccurate in an article and people are upset about it? Do Dave and Bob need a safe space they can go to where, as Vance points out, facts don’t matter? This is a news site, people. News is supposed to be accurate. And it’s inaccurate to say Pakistan food is part of the “stans” food trend mentioned in the Baum + Whiteman release.

  4. Thank you Vance (and everyone else) for your comments. Since Charlotte does not have any restaurants featuring food from Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan – my original intent was to include a Pakistan restaurant to get readers to venture out and try something new. I thought I had wrote a sentence explaining that in the sub-heading but it looks like I did not. We have removed the section from the article, thank you for reading CharlotteFive.

  5. I want to see a return of the Sloppy Joe and Ambrosia in 2019. Two classics that many have forgotten, imagine them with a CBD twist.

  6. The only trend that needs to happen for 2019 is restaurants focusing on better tasting food at affordable prices. Time to loose the overpriced decor/atmosphere, buzz words and instagram “worthy” displays.

    If the food and service are good people will come.


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