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Headed out to dinner? You're not alone

New York's restaurant sales are projected to rise 3.9 percent in the new year to more than $33.5 million, according to the leading business association for the state's restaurant and hospitality industries. National restaurant sales are expected to top $660 billion this year.

The New York State Restaurant Association released a report highlighting hospitality and economic trends New Yorkers can expect in 2013, based on interviews with 1,800 chefs across the nation.

A study conducted by the National Restaurant Association showed that 10 percent of America's workforce is represented by the restaurant industry, which continues to drive new employment with 13.1 million new positions this year. In New York state, industry employment is expected to jump 6.7 percent over the next decade, creating about 50,6000 jobs.

"The New York State Restaurant Association has worked hard in recent years with Governor Cuomo and local leaders in New York City and across the state to improve the climate for restaurateurs, caterers and other hospitality professionals," said Colleen Holmes, vice chair NYSRA's board of directors. "These numbers just out from the NRA's national research signals this work is beginning to gain traction."

The national study also identified the top five culinary trends this year — locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, healthy kids' meals, environmental sustainability as a culinary theme and children's nutrition as a culinary theme — along with the top five trends in adult beverages — onsite barrel-aged drinks, food-liquor/cocktail pairings, culinary cocktails, micro-distilled/artisan liquor and locally produced spirits.

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