Burgers Too Expensive? Try Food Mashups on Your Bar Menu

It’s official now: Beef is too darn expensive. What started as a surprising price increase at the beginning of the year has turned into a long, drawn-out phase of disappointment for those of us who love bar food, and who especially love burgers. The price of beef is at it’s highest since 1987, and it’s high time you rethought your bar menu–before it’s too late. Here are 7 creative food mashup ideas you can use to brainstorm for what you want to add to your new bar menu.

1. Taco Bell’s Doritos Tacos Locos

This idea is brilliant beyond brilliant. In case you’ve not heard of this new food innovation (where have you been!?), Taco Bell decided to put a taco into a Doritos Nacho Cheese shell. The idea is so obvious, especially since everyone has been making taco salad with crumbled-up Doritos for years, but it created a food craze that brought new crowds to Taco Bell. To create your own version of this idea, why don’t you try chicken nachos made with Doritos?

2. Dominique Ansel’s Cronut

This was THE food trend of 2013. This delectable pastry is a mix between a donut and a croissant, that’s glazed and filled with cream… and it rocks. The Cronut is so popular that it even has its own website. Apparently, Ansel has come out with a new mashup since the Cronut: the Frozen S’more. This recipe is hard to make–did you read the Cronut website? However, you can try fun food mashup ideas in your restaurant such as a donut chicken sandwich, deep fried donuts, or eclairs wrapped in donuts.

3. Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco

As if the Dorito Taco Loco wasn’t enough, Taco Bell has decided to try for a new food mashup with this year’s waffle taco. The waffle taco is a waffle “taco shell,” with sausage, eggs, and a side of syrup–and it’s making enough waves in the fast food breakfast lineup that McDonalds felt the need to court customers with free coffee. This should be an easy one to introduce to your bar menu, just figure out flat things you can use as a taco shell. (Perhaps a pancake would be a suitable alternative?)

4. Chips Ahoy’s Brownie Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I admit. I haven’t run across these in stores yet, I just found them in my research. However, I need to start looking for them. Now. Today. This incredible idea finally solves the problem of whether you should eat a brownie or a chocolate chip cookie (um, both! duh!), by combining the two items into one sugar-filled treat. You should be able to make these pretty easily, just line a baking dish with cookie dough, pour brownie batter over it, and top with more cookie dough, then bake.

5. Pizza Cake

A Canadian Company called Boston Pizza came out with this idea recently, a six-layer cake made entirely of pizza. Although this product doesn’t yet actually exist, fans of Boston Pizza voted this idea a winner, and the pizza chain will have to deliver on their pizza cake idea soon. This idea might be difficult to implement in your bar, but with a deep enough pan and enough small pizzas, you can try it. If the stacked pizza idea doesn’t work, you could just make a pizza taco–I mean, after all, what can’t be made into a taco?

6. Ramen Burger

This creation doesn’t do much to help with your expensive beef problem (it is a burger, after all), but it’s worth noting because of the potential the idea has. Keizo Shimamoto, a 35-year-old food entrepreneur, created the Ramen Burger: a burger patty topped with chopped green onions, and sandwiched between a “bun” of two compressed ramen patties. To use this idea in your bar, you can make the compressed patties pretty easily (apparently you boil the noodles, form them, and let them chill in the fridge for an hour). To avoid using overpriced beef, you can supplement the ramen patties with a boneless pork chop marinated in an Asian soy sauce. You’re welcome.

7. Turducken

In case you were thinking that food mashups were a symptom of the easily bored youths of the modern age, I would like to draw your attention to the Turducken. The Turducken was created in the early 1800s, and the earliest known reference to this wondrous mashup is from 1807. In case you’ve forgotten, a Turducken is a deboned chicken, stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed into a deboned turkey. Each item has been filled with different flavors of stuffing–and if that isn’t a food mashup on an epic, historical scale, I don’t know what is. To put a Turducken on your menu, you’re going to have to actually make a real Turducken. This term is so well known, and the dish’s mystique so well established, that to make anything less than a real Turducken would alienate your customers. If you feel up to the task though, you can charge top dollar for such a rare item, and your word-of-mouth advertising will skyrocket.

No matter what you try to do with your bar menu, the rising costs in our chosen industry is showing that things will have to change soon. Burger prices are too high for you to reasonably make a profit in the future, but you can turn your burger loss into an advantage if you plan right. Just think creatively, and you may just figure out the menu your bar always should have had, plus, you’ll have a lot of fun in the process.

Oh, and if you make that Turducken, give me a call.

 Photo licensed by Jeremy Keith