Defining New American

April 2017

According to Yelp, at least 744 restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area are categorized as “New American.” While this descriptor is popping up across the nation, many researchers, chefs and diners aren’t clear about its true definition.

Washington City Paper reported that New American is a term used to describe hyper-local foods in dishes that feature a creative blend of flavors, no one identifying solely as Italian, Spanish, French or German. It’s when chefs combine local ingredients with foreign techniques to create a fresh, unique dish.

A Flavor & The Menu article stated that when it comes to New American, exploration and creativity are the sole requirements. In addition, New American establishments are expected to be inherently honest about their food, from how it’s cooked and plated to how it’s described on the menu.

The Chicago Tribune called New American a “catchall term for any cuisine that defies categorization.” It involves mixing and matching cuisines combining ingredients in a unique way.

According to AF&Co., New American sometimes defines modern comfort foods and other times defines ethnic fusion dishes.

This loosely defined cuisine and restaurant category is very popular among diners across the nation. No matter which interpretation of New American you’re following, using versatile, high-quality ingredients is key. Turkey is the perfect canvas for your flavor exploration. With spicy ethnic-fusion dishes from Korean BBQ Turkey Won Ton Tacos to Venezuelan Breakfast Arepas, turkey can be the base ingredient in all kinds of adventurous New American dishes. Find more recipe inspiration in the Culinary Center.


Hayes, Laura. Make New American Great Again, Washington City Paper, August 2016.

Armstrong, Mindy. The New American Cuisine, Flavor & The Menu, November 2016.

Daley, Bill. What is “New American” food, anyway?, Chicago Tribune, July 2015.

THIS IS NOT A TEST – 2017 Trends Report, AF&Co., November 2016.

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