What is in this article?:
- Game meats flourish on restaurant menus
- Chains get game
Meats such as elk, bison and venison are becoming increasingly popular at independent and chain restaurants
Chains get game
Game is not only popular among independent restaurants. Better burger chains such as Burger Lounge, The Counter and Bareburger have started to offer bison, elk, wild boar and ostrich on their menus, following a tradition that Fuddruckers started years ago.
“We decided to offer game meats at Bareburger — elk, ostrich and wild boar — in order to bring a variety to our guests that they can't find in a lot of places,” Bareburger chief executive Euripides Pelekanos said in an e-mal. “We're big fans of these meats for a number of reasons. Both elk and ostrich are quite lean, for example, and they're healthy alternatives to beef burgers. Wild boar is definitely a meat-lover's choice — it's got a higher fat content but packs big flavor. For a lot of our guests, an ostrich, elk or wild boar patty at Bareburger is their first experience with these meats, which is what gets us excited as both chefs and fans of good food.”
Pelekanos said those three meats account for about 20 percent of burger sales total, and bison makes up another 20 percent, which is about double sales and four times the sale of lamb burgers.
Casual-dining chain Seasons 52 also has added venison to its winter menu for the past few years. Last year it introduced a grilled venison chop on venison and mushroom ragout with truffle-mashed potatoes, which is being reprised this year.
“I’ve always found it interesting to cook these meats, and they’re so readily available,” said Flanigan, who has been offering elk saddle at The Gage since the restaurant opened nearly six years ago. Although the restaurant’s top sellers are burgers, fish and chops, the elk is “up there with the rib eye,” he said. “It sells like crazy.”
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