Food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right this minute?
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to analyze which restaurants have been getting extra notice this month.
To find out who made the list, we first looked at Washington businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots are riding a trend this winter.
Open since October, this New American spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp.
Citywide, New American spots saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Emilie’s saw an 80.6% increase, with a slight downward trend from a 4.5-star rating a month ago to four stars today.
It's not the only trending outlier in the New American category: Central has seen a 0.4% increase in reviews, and Bar Louie in Gallery Place and Flight Wine Bar have seen 1.9% and 0.8% increases, respectively.
Located at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in Capitol Hill, Emilie’s features shared plates, including ricotta cavatelli, beef tartare with cured egg yolk and crab fat mustard, ranch fried chicken and pork blade steak.
Emilie’s is open from 5–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday, 5 –11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 5 –9:30 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about downtown's Morton's, a franchise of the well-known chain, the popular steakhouse and traditional American spot has been getting a lot more foot traffic lately.
While Morton's stayed on par with the median 1.1% increase in new reviews businesses categorized as "American (Traditional)" on Yelp over the past month, maintaining a mixed three-star rating, the number of visitors to Morton's more than tripled over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
"What began in Chicago in 1978 is now one of the most award-winning steakhouses around," the business' Yelp page states. "For over 30 years, Morton's has been on a mission to provide the best steak... anywhere."
Its Yelp page continues, "With fresh, succulent seafood and famed USDA prime-aged steak, it's no surprise that Morton's has thrilled diners all over the world."
Open at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW since 1996, Morton's specializes in prime steaks and chops. It also serves seafood, poultry, wine, beer and craft cocktails.
Morton's is open from 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. on weekdays, 5–10 p.m. on Saturday and 5–9 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, foot traffic is heaviest at noon, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and on Fridays and Thursdays, with a slowdown on Sundays.
Dirty Habit in the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter is the city's buzziest cocktail bar by the numbers.
The popular cocktail bar, diner and brunch spot, which opened at 555 Eighth St. NW in 2016, increased its new review count by 0.5% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 2.1% for the Yelp category "Cocktail Bars." As for foot traffic, Dirty Habit saw visits more than double over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
Here's more about the business, from its history section on Yelp: "Ideally situated as the centerpiece of D.C.'s Hotel Monaco, Dirty Habit proffers a vivid social scene centered around expertly crafted cocktails, an innovative social plates menu, urban chic design and a dramatic patio."
What does this business focus on? "Cocktails and small plates," according to its Yelp page.
It's not the only trending outlier in the cocktail bar category: Saint Yves has seen a 2.9% increase in reviews, and Thai Chef Street Food and Baan Thai have seen 3.6% and 1.3% increases, respectively.
A variety of craft cocktails are on offer, as well as dinner entrees that include Amish chicken, steamed turbot and prime ribeye steak.
Dirty Habit is open from 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily. According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Saturdays and Fridays, so go on Sundays if you want to avoid the rush.
Milk & Honey
And finally, Brightwood's well-established Milk & Honey is currently on the upswing in the breakfast and brunch category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, this breakfast and brunch spot increased its new reviews by 7.4% — and kept its rating consistent at four stars.
What is the ambience of the restaurant like? "You walk through the doors and immediately feel at home. Every detail was purposeful and carefully planned with the community in mind. ... The venue is uniquely appointed and the catering menu options are plentiful," its Yelp page states.
Milk & Honey comes from Food Network chef Sammy Davis and co-owner Monique Rose. Open for business at 5832 Georgia Ave. NW since 2018, Milk & Honey's specialty dishes include Caribbean-style whole red snapper, crab cake Benedict, smothered chicken and biscuits, fried fish and grits and a deep-fried salmon hash.
Milk & Honey is open from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)