Food and Beverage

Things You Didn't Know Your Restaurant Needed

We scour the NRA Show for food, gadgets, gear and services to help you wow guests, ensure safety and operate efficiently. Check out what's new and cool this year.
A Choco kebab machine
Things You Didn't Know Your Restaurant Needed

National Restaurant Association

Choco kebabs

What's more tempting than a giant slab of chocolate? How about giant chunks of almond and hazelnut chocolate rotating in a refrigerated machine like a Nutella-flavored dessert gyro? At least two exhibitors shaved slivers of chocolate from rotating, gyro-style cylinders and served them over warm crepe-liked pancakes or "Choco Pita." The crepes can be filled with ice cream, whipped cream, fruit and other toppings, says Mariano Vanoli, director, Italian Chocolate Twister. Who's interested? Bakeries, cafes, ice cream stores and kiosk/food truck operators.

Sorghum solutions


Add sorghum to the list of old-fashioned ingredients making a comeback. The United Sorghum Checkoff showed off the ancient grain’s flexibility in various forms: pearls, puffs and pillows; flour, whole grain and bran; and syrup. It blends in well with other whole grains, ancient grains and marinades, says Doug Bice, market development director. “When you look around the show floor, I could fit it with so many products,” he says. The gluten-free grain is a good source of protein and fiber. “It fits all those things folks are looking for.”

Edible bugs 

Crickets ground into flour for tortilla chips are probably the only way you want to see bugs in your restaurant. But Ed Gunther sees them as a fun way to get operators to think about pest control. The national accounts rep for Terminix used them as a hook to get people to talk about how to protect their brands and minimize risk. What’s top of mind right now? The Zika virus. “It’s a major, scary topic” that Terminix is battling with a new, safe, organic mosquito-control program. The long-time exhibitor also was talking up its rapid-freeze bed bug program.

Fryer guards 

Pock-marked-size burns from oil burns no longer have to be a rite of passage for cooks and chefs. FryerGate/Dagda Technologies offers an oil guard that hooks on to fryer baskets to prevent hot oil from splashing your staff and floors. CEO Rory Millikin previously received our Kitchen Innovations award for FryerGate, a cover for deep fryers, as well as SpinFresh, which combines a salad spinner and deep fryer to reduce grease (and calories) from fried food.

Ramen for grown-ups 

You might remember five-for-$1 instant noodle packets from your college days. But fresh ramen is taking off everywhere – from university foodservice to ramen shops in Chicago, Las Angeles and even Nebraska, says Mike Gerber, national accounts manager, Ariake USA. The Harrisonburg, Va.-based company is known for bone-stock concentrates from turkey, beef, chicken and pork, but its big seller for foodservice is ramen soup and fresh noodles. Four types of ramen concentrate are available: vegetarian, miso, pork and chicken.



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