Creativity is key. Not just when putting a menu together and deciding which dishes to feature, but also in how often the menu is changed, what font is used, etc.
With a history in the arts — The Hermosa Inn was originally built by cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee in the 1930s — we continue this tradition by featuring “artful American” cuisine at LON’s at the Hermosa. From utilizing fresh produce grown in the one-acre garden located just outside the LON’s kitchen and bringing in durum wheat from my family farm in Marana, Ariz. to make our gnocchi and other pastas, the ingredients used mean just as much as the evolution of the menu each quarter.
The difference between our lunch and dinner menu at LON’s is clear. Lunch is a more casual environment, where people come to relax on the patio, have a quick lunch on their break or have a lunch meeting with business associates; so, the look and feel of the menu reflects that with its straight-to-the-point font and easy-to-read layout.
While the colors in each menu are the same, the dinner menu utilizes a more artful font for our fine-dining evening options and also emphasizes a shorter, simpler design to reflect the taste and simplicity of our artful American cuisine.
No more than three fonts are used in each to keep it from looking busy, and each section is broken up via an artful brushstroke to further keep in line our artistic history. Both menus are also ordered logically per the steps of each meal; for lunch, it’s non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails, followed by fingers to share, soups/salads, sandwiches and house specialties; while for dinner, it’s starters, soups/salads, entrees and sides for sharing.
Many focus groups have proven that there is a discomfort with dollar signs and decimals. By keeping the price of a dish as abstract as possible, it makes the process of spending money less threatening.
This is why you’ll often not see a dish listed as:
Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad………………………………$14.00
But instead, it will be:
Farmer’s Market Chopped Salad 14
As a chef, I believe this is by far one of the most important aspects of a menu. We change menus quarterly to encapsulate the fresh ingredients of that particular season, and our Chef’s Tasting Menu changes weekly to showcase the creativity of the LON’s culinary team. It all begins with the product, and then our culinary team is able to be creative in keeping it simple enough to showcase those natural flavors.
While that is one side of the menu creation, ingredients also play a role in how a guest chooses a dish from a menu. For example, other studies have shown that an item is more likely to sell if the ingredients showcased are from a specific place or region (such as Crow’s Dairy goat cheese compared to local goat cheese).
So next time you go to a restaurant, notice the creativity that goes into that menu. What makes it different? Is it the placement of the items, the lack of dollar signs or the font and color used? No matter what, it will showcase the creativity of that establishment, and now you’ll know what went into the thinking behind it all.
For further information on LON’s at the Hermosa, The Hermosa Inn or to make a reservation, call (602) 955-7878 or visit LONs.com, Facebook, Twitter or The Hermosa Inn blog.
If You Go: LON’s at the Hermosa
5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253