- Fast-casual restaurants serving Middle Eastern food and Mediterrean food are suddenly everywhere.
- Although Mediterranean food and Middle Eastern food are different, they have a lot of overlapping flavors.
- Cava and Roti are just a few of the chains that have been rapidly growing across the United States.
- Whole Foods predicted that Middle Eastern cuisine would be one of the top culinary trends in 2018 because of a growing demand for fresh, healthy, and flavorful food.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants seem to be popping up on every corner.
Taïm, Cava, Hummus & Pita Co., and Roti are among the fast-growing restaurants that have been serving fresh Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in a fast-casual style, with more and more national chains and local businesses hopping on the trend all the time.
Middle Eastern cuisine has been rising in popularity in recent years, and Whole Foods predicted it would be one of the top food trends of 2018. According to Whole Foods, hummus, pita, and falafel are “entry points” into Middle Eastern food, and spices like harissa, cardamom, and za’atar will likely start popping up on menus more and more.
Though Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food are distinct from one another, “Mediterranean” is often used as an umbrella term to describe both. For example, flatbreads, roasted meat, and hummus are generally considered stables of both types of cuisine.
Leila Hudson, associate professor of modern Middle East culture and political economy at the University of Arizona in Tucson, explained to QSR magazine, “Mediterranean is a much more popular selling point. People generally understand what that means.”
Tamim Shoja, who owns SKWR Kabobline in Washington, DC, told QSR: “We did a lot of research, and what kept sticking out was how many restaurants represented themselves as Mediterranean when they were not. I came to the realization it was a marketing thing. Mediterranean is something that is approachable.”