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7 California Trends We Are Loving

Our restaurant consultants have been spending much of the last month in California--from Tahoe to San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles up through Malibu and Santa Barbara. Not only are we enjoying the views and the sunshine, it's been fun to take note of what's trending in California.

Here are six things we're loving:

1. Pour it yourself taps at Blast 825. This San Luis Obispo taproom lets guests measure out their own beers--a little to try something new, or a full pint of a trusted favorite. Guests are charged by the ounce, but allowed to try as many varieties as they like.

2. Stunning (fitting!) decor and barrel-aged cocktails at Mason Bar in Arroyo Grande. This cozy bar just added a restuarant as well, all tied together with the rustic qualities expected of a whiskey spot. 

3. Really fantastic vegan options. Sure it's California, but they just have a leg up on what is a growing trend across the United States. Want some tips on vegetarian and vegan offerings? Check out dedicated restaurants for delicious choices like these empanadas from Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara.

4. Minimal, modern decor. Some may call it cold, but there was something refreshing about stepping into a space where the emphasis was on the food. These modern restaurants did lack in aesthetic taste; just made it really, really simple. 

5. Local-feeling franchises. Turns out, Groundwork is a franchised coffee house; but the vibe at this Venice Beach was so friendly and the drinks and food so intentionally chosen, at first we'd thought we'd found the local go-to. 

6. Buying into the culture. If you're cruising the 1 down to Malibu, you want to stop into a seafood shack that feels like you're cruising down the 1 into Malibu. Reel Inn captures the essence of coastal California with their food and decor. Give the people what they want! 

7. Pure ingredients--even in the treats. This is very in-line with our focus in recent months, but McConnell's Ice Cream in Santa Barbara has been putting it into practice for a long time. Creative flavors made from real, simple ingredients make for the best flavor--and a line, literally, wrapped around the block, even after dark.

What's trending in your area? Need help finding out? Contact our restaurant consultants today!