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These Are Shaping Up To Be 2021’s Biggest Food Trends

Baked feta pasta. Fast food chicken sandwich wars. Over-the-top mixology. These are the trends we’re seeing the most in 2021, both in the meals we’re cooking at home and in the restaurant and dining scene.

The Lemon Apron - Baked Feta Pasta | Photo:
The Lemon Apron – Baked Feta Pasta | Photo:

Homemade Pasta

We all had our foray into breadmaking during lockdown last year, and the comfort carb train has kept on rolling this year. From the viral baked feta pasta that’s going around TikTok to handmade at home creations, comfort food and carbs are taking center stage and keeping us satisfied in ways that a salad just never will. 

Joy Cafe - First Class Cocktail
Joy Cafe – First Class Cocktail

Creative Cocktails 

This is something we’re seeing more of at home and at restaurants alike. Instagram and our social media culture has long rewarded beautiful dishes, and we can see that trend playing out in the increasingly complex, beautiful, and totally Instagrammable cocktails offered by restaurants, like this First Class Cocktail from Joy Cafe. And the folks who don’t feel quite comfortable with indoor dining yet have invested increasingly in bar essentials to make their own delicious creations at home. If you’re looking to up your cocktail game yourself–check out our digital show on drinks and dining at! 

Zaxby's - Signature Sandwich | Photo:
Zaxby’s – Signature Sandwich | Photo:

Chicken Sandwiches

Fried chicken sandwiches will ALWAYS be “on trend” in Atlanta, but there’s no denying that we’re seeing more and more spots getting into the game. At the fast food level, McDonald’s and Zaxby’s are both introducing their own spin. And on the local level, Scoville Hot Chicken in Sandy Springs has brought the heat with a phenomenal hot chicken sandwich, Chai Yo Modern Thai has added in their own flavor with Thai chicken sandwiches, and Instagram phenomena B&L Wings is getting into the game with a sandwich called the Dirty Bird Chicken Sandwich that had our editor OJ raving

Birria Tacos 

We hate to a call cultural food trendy just because it’s percolated into mainstream culture, but let’s just say these crispy, cheesy, flavorful tacos have been spreading in popularity like wildfire. Birria tacos have long been a delicacy in the Jalisco region of Mexico, but now you can find them in Mexican spots around town

Ghost Kitchens 

Have you noticed some new “restaurants” popping up UberEats and Doordash that you’ve never heard of before? That’s because ghost kitchens are more popular than ever. A ghost kitchen is  a professional food prep/cooking facility that’s set up for delivery or catering ONLY. There are quite a few popping up all around Atlanta–PREP Kitchen is a spot that houses quite a few of them as well as serves as a hub for food trucks and catering businesses. 

Forza Storico - Patio } Photo: Facebook/forzastorico
Forza Storico – Patio | Photo: Facebook/forzastorico


Al fresco dining was a huge hit in 2020 due to the pandemic, and we predict outdoor eating will continue to be wildly popular until more folks are vaccinated. And we’re lucky to have some amazing patios around town. 

Flower Cookies | Photo:
Jam-Filled Flower Cookies | Photo:

Vintage Inspired And Nostalgic Foods 

With travel and cocktail happy hours and CorePower Yoga and all the other things we usually occupy our time with us currently inaccessible to us, we’ve  been spending more time escaping into other eras. Bingeing Great British Bake Off and Bridgerton has led to the rise cottagecore and the foods that go with it. And if we’re not recreating the bakes from our favorite period TV shows, we’re delving into the flavors from our childhood. Sugar cookies bars are a top 10 recipe right now in the New York Times Cooking section and 

Trader Joes Everything But The Elote
Trader Joe’s Everything But The Elote Seasoning

Global Spices

I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely added a few more spices to my arsenal as I’ve cooked from home more and more. According to Instacart, sales for exotic blends like Piri Piri sauce  went up 725 percent and Za’atar sales rose 39 percent. 

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