Young and Hungry

Would You Like Some Nibbles and Roughage?

photo (6)

Whatever happened to “appetizers,” “entrees,” and “desserts?" Instead of those traditional categories, many restaurants are opting for cutesy menu sections like "pickings" and "fun bites" instead. Perhaps it's no surprise: Rare are the restaurants that offer the traditional three-course format anymore. Now, often, it's choose-your-own-adventure with a selection of small plates, which range from single bites to shareable dishes, plus family-style platters that demand lingo of their own—even if it's hopelessly vague. (What are "urban picnic" dishes anyway?) Take a look at where you can find snacks, smalls, chomps, other goods, and other quirky menu subsections.

Fainting Goat: Nibble, Graze, Chomp, Feed

Roofers Union: Stacked, Stuffed, Simple

Teddy & The Bully Bar: Garden, Coast, Plains, Tavern, Docks

Beuchert's Saloon: Snacks, Whole Meals, Company, Treats

Lincoln Restaurant: Pickings, Pantry, Roughage, Farmstead, Meadows

Daikaya: Fun Bites, Green Things, Fish Things, Meat Things

Evening Star Cafe: Smalls, Supper

B Too: Out of the Fridge (cold starters), Into the Oven (hot starters)

Firefly: Urban Picnic, Mains

Founding Farmers: Dogs & Rolls, Fresh Catches, From the Range, Meatless

The Pig: Pig, Less Pig, Greens & Starches, Supper

Rose's Luxury: Cold, Warm & Grill, Other Goods

Station 4: To Share, Principals

Photo from Fainting Goat by Jessica Sidman


  1. #1

    Fainting Goat gets the award.

  2. #2

    So nowadays in menu-speak, phrases such as "To share" mean "A plate the size of what appetizers used to be" ?

  3. #3

    @tomaj Sadly, it's not even so simple because some restaurants also use "to share" to mean large family-style platters.

  4. #4

    On the one hand, I appreciate that there are other ways to categorize food besides appetizers and entrees. On the other hand, I'm sick and tired of restaurants treating me like I'm a complete dolt. "Have you been here before? No? Well, we do things a little differently here. You'll see we have 'fun things' and 'green things'..." and then they explain each category to me. Look, unless I tell you I'm totally goddamn illiterate, you do not need to explain that the "Coast" plates have the seafood and the "Garden" plates are vegetarian.

  5. #5

    @Jessica---I think they've all switched to "family style". I'm continually amazed at the mental yoga needed to call small plates "perfect for sharing".

    and to add to what Jane correctly said, one reason the restaurant has to explain things to us is that they take a differnt eating model (such as tapas) and try to apply it to a standard American meal, which it is not.

Leave a Comment

Blogs Linking to this Article

  1. The Future of Restaurant Menus |

    [...] Read full article >> [...]

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.