SPOTLIGHT ON… power bowls
OPPOSITE, TOP: Punch Bowl Social’s superfood grain bowl, with quinoa and crispy farro, cooked and raw veggies and protein,
mirrors how culinary partner Hugh Acheson cooks and eats at home.
OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: Hawaiian fusion restaurant Mahalo credits its success partly to the popularity of poke bowls.
It will likely surprise no one to learn that food in bowls continues to reign on restaurant menus. Everything
from sushi to smoothies now comes in bowl form, and bowl
mentions are up on menus roughly 20% (in entrees) over the past five years, according to Chicago-
based Technomic’s MenuMonitor.
Beyond providing an inexpensive and convenient vehicle for healthy all-in-one meals, bowls
benefit from a convergence of like-minded movements, including plant-forward eating, high-protein diets, the growing popularity (and availability) of specialty grains and red-hot regional
trends such as Hawaiian poke bowls.
“I think it comes down to the fact that people like this style of eating,” says Christopher
Cina, culinary operations director at gastropub/bar/entertainment mini-chain Punch Bowl Social,
headquartered in Denver. “Bowls are packed with flavor, healthy and from a chef’s perspective,
they’re a blank page. They can combine different flavors and textures, be based on certain regions
and cuisines—or not—and be tailored to any meal period. Every professional kitchen has the
components to make up a whole new and unique bowl with what already exists in inventory.”
Punch Bowl culinary partner Hugh Acheson architected the chain’s two bowls to “mirror
the way he cooks and eats at home,” Cina says. The superfood grain bowl comprises two grains
two ways (fried farro and fluffy cooked quinoa), raw lacinato kale, pickled chilies, warm shiitake
mushrooms and roasted carrots tossed with miso ginger vinaigrette and topped with a poached