By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 29, 2015
Credit: © iStockphoto

How do you choose a restaurant? Their food? Their service? Their straws? According to some industry experts, unique straws are one of the ways restaurants are trying to lure in new customers—and straws made out of meat are one of the hottest ways to suck down a drink.

“There is a furious battle to differentiate among restaurant providers,” Michael Silverstein, a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group, told the Wall Street Journalin a recent article on the growing straw trend. “Sell one more drink as a result of a better straw, and all are better off.”

It might sound ridiculous, but the WSJ hunted down a couple of restaurants that have jumped on the meat straw bandwagon. Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, serves up edible straws made out of two slabs of coiled pork with drinks like their Caesar cocktail: They’re going through nearly 150 a day. Marty Duffy, owner of the Cellar Peanut Pub in Oskaloosa, Iowa, started using a product called Benny’s Original Meat Straws in his Bloody Marys a couple years ago and says he’s sold more than 20,000 of the suckable meat sticks. One of his drinks even won “best dressed Bloody Mary” at a New York City Wine and Food Festival event.

Ben Hirko, the Benny behind Benny’s Original Meat Straws, formerly owned a lawn-care company before he was inspired to jump into the meat straw business. Now you can buy five-packs of his pork and beef combination straws online for just $6.99—available in Original and Smokin’ Chipotle varieties. He says fans of his straws have even suggested he move into other meats like buffalo and venison.

This leads us to wonder what cocktail pairs best with venison—something with Scotch?