What does the next generation of diners want out of a restaurant experience? Writer Carley Thornell explores the inner workings of today’s millennial diner — and how restaurants are responding.
The first thing you’ll notice about the re-energized Bambara isn’t the food — it’s what it’s on. Hefty ceramic oblong plates are each all slightly different, handcrafted by local potter Jeremy Ogusky, that caught the eye of executive chef David Bazirgan. “I just love it; to me it looks nicer and it gives it a much more natural feel than fine dining, [which is] all white and sterile,” says chef Baz. “I’ve been trying to appeal to a younger crowd, and it’s part of that shareable, small-plates concept. And I like using local artists, too, which really took off at Dirty Habit.” His former San Francisco restaurant — called a “food lovers’ bar” was re-launched from the white-napkin Fifth Floor in 2013.
Welcome to the era of millennial dining — it’s one of taking chances with more casual concepts, menus, and price points. For Bazirgan, it’s his own interpretation of what a “New American” menu is, and in the melting pot of Cambridge, Massachusetts, that means prix fixe is out and Middle Eastern spices and herbs shine through in delicious homemade breads.