Prime rib, chimichurri sauce and beer
When it comes to American cuisine, there are few things more iconic than steakhouses. The slabs of marbled meat, the sizzling grills, the oozing butter and the dripping bravado, maybe even a cowboy hat or two for ambiance, define these bricks and mortar establishments. Yet for all the traditional steak dinners ordered daily, there are restaurants nationwide pushing the concept of the all-American steakhouse to new culinary heights, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in its new 2017 Forecast: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.

“The steakhouse is back and will capture our attention in 2017. Not that the classic restaurant style ever disappeared, but a renewal of the model is taking place in response to new sources of beef and new flavorful expressions of the concept that get chefs and diners excited,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts, Rockville, Maryland.

Today’s steakhouse menus increasingly feature grass-fed cattle, locally raised animals, heritage varieties, meat butchered and dry aged in-house, and dishes that stem from the whole animal, not just the premium cuts. And that’s just the meat. Creative side dishes in lieu of old standards, global and seasonal flavors, and a wider menu selection also distinguish these new school operations.

Processors, butchers and retailers are smart to capitalize on this trend and offer such culinary options in the packaged display case and via counter service. This new breed of steak offerings supports local ranchers, factors in sustainability and animal welfare, and creates an away-from-home and at-home dining experience that showcases culinary flair. Convenient marinades and rubs assist with transforming the home grill into a steakhouse experience.