The Craft of Menu Creation

Explore with us at the Menu Shoppe…topics of industry engagement.
The craft of menu creation.
Adapted from Vanee Foods “Its My Ingredient”
The art of the menu.
A mirror of your Kitchen’s prowess.
Once the kitchen management is in place–there’s so much other creative coordination
to develop menu theme and presentation.
Coordinating content, as well as art, production and budget. Plus the psychology of the menu.
The enticement factor for patron acquisition.
Also posturing and branding of your restaurant venue.
Is your restaurant being postured by pricing…
or the food?
Apparently, many studies have determined that pricing ending in .00 are view as quality
or .99 viewed as value.
However, whether decimal digits also incur pricing sensitivity.  
Actually, incorporating decimal-ed pricing can be preemptive to “pricing sensitivity”.
“A study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research found that leaving the dollar sign off pricing, actually increased sales  by as much as 8%”…
While its  becoming trending and chic to simply feature numerals.  Solo.  Minus dollar sign.  
Or possibly written out–depending on restaurant genre.
An appetizer at a private club might appear as:
lobster crostini
But this might be confusing at a gastropub.  
Thusly, a simpler menu.
onion rings  8
And of course, font and type face are of other graphic considerations.
Minutiae that really does matter–whether to branding or the bottom line. Contract a graphic designer specializing in menu development. Otherwise,  define and decipher the branding aims for your restaurant: fine dining, upscale, trendy bistro, casual, family-type.
For DIY efforts,  select uniform font.  
Keep it clean and legible.
A fabulous Kitchen won’t matter as much–
if the menu is jumbled and cluttered.
Branding matters.
Because social matters.  
Status.  Visibility.  
Whatever your market share.
Casual venues may wish to bolster value and portion aspects.
Upscale dining may wish to highlight kitchen attributes ( chef notoriety ) as well as dining room ambiance or patron perks.
…and so much more…
Including the psychology of visual scanpaths for best imagery presentation.
Stay tuned…
Many thanks to the Vanee Team for their menu wizardry.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
America’s leading source for restaurant menu covers.
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Sunday Supper: Pithy. And Peachy!

Sunday Supper.
Peachy idea.  
Celebrating summertime bounty.
Chilled Melon Soup
Peach and Mint Caprese Salad
Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto
Limoncello Gelato
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great menus…
and good times with good company.
Make a splash!
Drizzle some amaretto or frangelico.
Chilled Melon Soup
2 cups chopped fresh cantaloupe
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mango (about 2 medium)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flaked coconut, toasted
Combine first 6 ingredients in container of an electric blender. Cover and process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Cover and chill 1 hour.
To serve, ladle 1 cup soup into each of
4 individual serving bowls; sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon toasted coconut.
A sweet twist on a classic.
Peach and Mint Caprese Salad
with Curry Vinaigrette
1/2 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mild honey
4 balls mozzarella (8 oz. each, preferably buffalo’s milk )
4 large firm-ripe yellow or white peaches, rinsed but not peeled
10 to 12 sprigs fresh mint
10 to 12 sprigs fresh basil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
In a dry (not nonstick) skillet, toast curry powder over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, a shade darker, and just starting to smoke, 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool briefly. Whisk in olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Set aside. Slice mozzarella into 1/2-in.-thick pieces and set aside. Peel peaches, cut in half lengthwise, and remove pits. Set each half flat on cutting board and slice into 1/2-in.-thick half-moons; set aside. Pluck mint and basil leaves from stems and set aside.  Set out 8 small plates or flattish bowls and build a loose tower of salad on each: Lay a couple of pieces of peach in center, top with a leaf or two of mint and basil, drape on a piece of mozzarella, or repeat layering 2 or 3 times. Top each stack with 2 peach slices and a sprig of mint. Drizzle with curry vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and scatter a few mint and basil leaves on each plate.
Does it get any better than this?
Pasta + summer’s bounty corn.
Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto
8 ounces tagliatelle
4 bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 6 ears)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + additional for serving
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided
Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.  Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon.
Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.
A fitting finale. Light, luscious…and cool.
Limoncello Gelato
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
4 coffee beans
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Whisk first 6 ingredients in large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook over medium-high heat until bubbles form at edges, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl until thick and smooth. Slowly whisk warm cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to same saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon and thermometer registers 180°F, about
6 minutes; do not boil. Pour custard into medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup limoncello.
Chill custard until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 4 hours.
NOTE: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Process custard in ice cream maker according to instructions. Transfer to container; cover and freeze up to 2 days. Scoop gelato into glasses.
Drizzle with additional limoncello and serve.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
America’s leading source for restaurant menu covers
Posted in cheeses, desserts, fruits, ice cream, pasta, salads, small plates, soups, supper | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Socially yours,

Since a menu is a window to the soul of a restaurant…
The Menu Shoppe is hoping to sharpen a focus on industry news and topics
+ a showcase of menus
and restaurants and recipes.
Each week, the Menu Shoppe will feature
a restaurant of the week, also menus and promotions…that work.
A showcase that’s designed to promote menus…
+ extra visibility at our social platforms.
Or yours.
Please contact us at:
We hope you’ll join us and visit often for news and treats…
whether menu covers for seasonal offerings, small plate, Daily Specials, cocktails, or table tent ideas.
A great menu deserves a great menu cover.
Only from the Menu Shoppe.
The Menu Shoppe is America’s number one source for menu covers for restaurants.
Posted in industry info, management, menu covers, menus, presentation, restaurants, to the trade | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So what it’s Saturday…it’s Strawberry Sundae

Celebrating the Sundae…anyday.
Though cheering Strawberry Sundaes today.
Simple. Yet Classic.
And so summer-y amid the swelter.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
but fun ideas for great summer dessert menus.
Awesome for daily Specials.
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Sundaes
2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 pints chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened
Reserve 1 cup of sliced strawberries. Combine remaining strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until berries are softened, about
5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse once or twice to make a chunky sauce. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Combine ice cream and reserved strawberries in a large bowl and mash ice cream with back of a large spoon until strawberries and ice cream are well combined. Cover bowl with plastic and return to freezer to firm up, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Divide ice cream among 6 sundae dishes and top each portion with chilled strawberry sauce. Serve immediately.
…and for more sophisticated presentation…
Strawberries Romanoff Sundaes
2 cups quartered strawberries
1/4 cup triple sec
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
3 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios, toasted
Mint leaves (optional)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a blender,
and process until smooth.
Combine the strawberry puree and sliced strawberries in a bowl.
Cover and chill.
Serve the strawberry mixture over the ice cream.
Sprinkle with nuts.
Trim sundaes with mint leaves.
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
America’s leading source for restaurant menu covers
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Friday Favorites: Frites + Fritters!

Friday Favorites.   Frites + Fritters.
Great snacking anytime.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great menus.
Our Baskets and Fry Cones are a must-have for presentation. Our Wire Menu Holder and
Table Tents are also super for Specials.
…and the summer sizzles on…Cheers!
Great frites at the clubhouse grill
or neighborhood pub.
Salty and savory and so summer-y.
Rosemary Frites
2 large baking potatoes
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
cooking spray
Cut each potato lengthwise into 10 to 12 wedges. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with next 4 ingredients; toss to coat. Arrange potato wedges, skin side down, in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 450° for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Or think cool and coastal.  Or tropical…
Conch Fritters
1 pound fresh conch, minced
1/2 pound red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup clam juice
vegetable oil
Stir together first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in clam juice.  Pour oil to a depth of 4 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry
1 minute or until golden. Drain.
Try Lime-and-Caper Aioli as a dip.
Or this anytime snack.  Dazzle the saucing.
Cauliflower Fritters
1 cauliflower (about 2 lb.), washed and broken into florets
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
About 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
Sour cream, salsa, or chutney (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°. Pour about 4 quarts of water into a 6- to 8-quart pan; bring to a boil over high heat.
Add cauliflower and 1 tablespoon salt; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until cauliflower is soft enough to mash, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Put cauliflower in a large bowl, and mash with a fork. Let cool until no longer steaming. Stir in eggs, garlic, and hot sauce, then mix in flour, baking powder, paprika, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour
1 teaspoon olive oil into an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop cauliflower mixture in heaping tablespoons into pan and cook, turning once, until fritters are golden brown on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in oven while cooking the remaining fritters. Add more oil as needed between batches.
Trim with chopped parsley and sour cream, salsa, or chutney. is a one-stop shop for all your menu cover needs from bar to bistro, fine dining to cafe. We have it covered.
Posted in #FF Friday favorites, gastropubs, presentation, small plates, snacks, Wire Basket Collection | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Festive Fourth: casual, but elegant

Here’s to a Festive Fourth.
Make it casual, but elegant.  Simple, but sophisticated.
The oohs and ahhs won’t be the fireworks, but your handsome menu.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…great ideas for great holiday menus.
Here’s to a Happy Fourth of  July!
Marinated Goat Cheese, Olives, Artichokes and Tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 pounds fresh goat cheese, softened
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette pepper (see Note) or hot paprika
Salt to taste
1 quart extra-virgin olive oil
20 cooked baby artichoke hearts, from the deli counter
1 cup red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
1 cup Niçoise olives
Toasted baguette slices, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate and let cool. In a standing mixer, using the paddle, blend the goat cheese with the toasted pine nuts, rosemary, thyme and piment d’Espelette. Alternatively, blend the cheese in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Season with salt. Shape rounded tablespoons of the seasoned cheese into balls. Pour 1 inch of olive oil into a tall 1-gallon glass container. Layer the cheese balls, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and olives in the container with enough of the remaining olive oil to cover. Let marinate at room temperature for 24 hours. Serve with the toasted baguette.
NOTE: The fruity, mildly spicy piment d’Espelette from France’s Pays Basque region is available from L’Epicerie
Bleu Cheese Potato Salad
5 pounds red  potatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled
5 green onions, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water. Boil until tender. Drain. Cool slightly. Peel potatoes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to large bowl. Add wine, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cool. Combine all remaining ingredients. Mix with potatoes. Adjust seasoning. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving ).
Grilled Sausages with Mixed Pepper Compote
2 sweet onions, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
Salt and pepper to taste
12 chicken, turkey or pork sausages
12 top-sliced hot dog buns
Preheat grill to medium-low. Push a metal skewer through onion rings horizontally. Mist onion rings with nonstick cooking spray; season with salt and pepper. Grill for 20 minutes, turning often, until tender. Remove from grill, cut each ring in half and separate. Set aside. Grill sausages, turning often, until a meat thermometer registers 170°F when stuck into thickest part, 20 minutes. Serve in buns with onions and pepper compote.
Rum-Spiked Grilled Pineapple
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, halved and sliced lengthwise into 12 planks
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark spiced rum
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
 ice cream, optional
Combine sugar and rum in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Brush rum mixture evenly over pineapple wedges.  Melt butter in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add pineapple to pan; grill 3 minutes on each side or until grill marks form and pineapple is thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with coconut.
Optional: fabulous dress up for ice cream…custard…flan.
The Menu Shoppe is America’s number one source for menu covers for restaurants.
Posted in appetizer, barbecue, cheeses, fruits, holiday, LED Specials Board, picnics, sandwiches | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fabulous cocktails for a Festive Fourth of July

Celebrate the July Fourth holiday with some spirited cocktails.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
great tips for great cocktail menus.
Have a Happy and Safe July 4 Holiday!
The shooter with the Goldschlager…
is like a liquid snow globe.
The Firecracker 
1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz Goldschlager…
those festive golden flakes
1/2 oz Rumple Minze… offers pepperminty intensity
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into a shot glass.
Give me liberty…or give me nothing less than Wild Turkey
The LiberTea punch cocktail
4 cups water
4 cups lemonade
4 black tea bags
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 1/2 cups American Honey * liqueur by Wild Turkey
A festive punch, or serve by the pitcher.
Featuring a blend of summery best quaffs:
ice tea and lemonade.
In a large saucepan, boil 2 cups water. Remove from heat; add 4 teabags of black tea. Steep 8 minutes; discard teabags. Add 2 cups cold water and lemonade; transfer to pitcher and chill.
Add fresh basil leaves. Using a wooden spoon, crush basil until fragrant. Stir in the Wild Turkey Bourbon and American Honey liqueur. Ice it.  Serve it.
But this one is legal.
The Cherry Bomb
.5 oz Fresh lime juice
Club soda
Trim with lime wheel and cherry
Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel and a cherry.
A sophisticated surprise.
Flag it and be in stitches all night
The Betsy Ross
1.5 oz Brandy
1.5 oz Ruby port
.5 oz Orange Curaçao
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
If it’s on the menu…
the Menu Shoppe as it covered.
America’s leading source for cafe style menu covers
Posted in cocktails, holiday, LED Specials Board, lounges, spirits | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment