Mixology meets the menu with restaurants introducing offerings featuring alcohol accents.
Pizza Hut is introducing a booze-infused sauce for its WingStreet bone-in and bone-out chicken wings: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Spicy Bourbon BBQ Sauce. The chain also is offering two new dry spice rubs — Cajun style and ranch — that may be used on wings or straight-cut fries.
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Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have teamed up with Midnight Moon Moonshine to offer the new Midnight Moonshine Burger. Served on the chains’ signature fresh baked buns, the burger includes a charbroiled, 100% Black Angus beef patty, a Midnight Moon Moonshine glaze, pepper jack cheese, crispy garlic-pepper onion straws and thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon.
“Branded, alcohol-flavored menu items have been popular in sit-down restaurants for a number of years now, but Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s were the first to bring them to the fast-food industry,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants. “We’ve done bourbon- and beer-flavored burgers and sandwiches before, but the rapidly rising popularity of legalized moonshine led us to start playing around with it in our test kitchens. We loved the sweet burn you get when you put a moonshine-flavored glaze on a burger.”
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P.F. Chang’s is introducing a new boozy beef dish: Red Wine & Pepper Braised Beef. The dish features marinated flank steak wok-seared with sliced potatoes, broccolini, Napa cabbage, grape tomatoes and Fresno peppers, served with a red wine pepper sauce. The new offering is available through July 12.
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New spring menu items are popping up at Panera Bread. The new Spinach, Mushroom and Sofrito Soufflé is fresh-baked and made with a savory egg mixture, romano, Parmesan and Neufch̢tel cheeses, baby spinach, a blend of roasted mushrooms and onions, and sofrito tomatoes. The Ricotta Sacchettini with Chicken Broth Bowl offers purse-shaped sacchettini pasta stuffed with a six-cheese blend, antibiotic-free chicken, broccoli, spinach, tomato sofrito and basil pesto with lemon and parmesan in chicken and turkey broth. The chain is also offering two varieties of gluten-conscious cookies. The Gluten-Conscious Monster Cookie with Nuts is a soft flourless cookie made with oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, dried cranberries and walnuts. The Gluten-Conscious Triple Chocolate Cookie is a soft flourless chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks and walnuts.
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Starbucks is putting its money on honey for its latest latte. The Caramelized Honey Latte is made with slow-cooked caramel honey sauce mixed with Starbucks espresso and topped with steamed milk and honey sugar sprinkles. It is available as a hot, iced or Frappuccino blended beverage for a limited time.
“One of the things we’re most excited about with the Caramelized Honey Latte is how well it works both hot and iced,” said Christal Canzler, a member of the Starbucks beverage development team. “It’s perfect for spring weather.”
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Chick-fil-A is adding a spicy new salad to its menu: the Spicy Southwest Salad. The entree includes spicy grilled chicken, roasted corn and black beans, shredded red cabbage and carrots, grape tomatoes and a blend of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses all topped with seasoned tortilla strips and chili lime pumpkin seeds. Customers may pair the salad with one of two new dressings: creamy salsa or chili lime vinaigrette.
“Our customers asked us for healthy options and bold flavors, so we’re excited to add the Spicy Southwest Salad to the menu,” said Jon Bridges, chief marketing officer of Chick-fil-A. “This new salad is packed with high-quality ingredients and fresh produce with a spicy kick. It’s not like anything else on the Chick-fil-A menu, and we think guests are going to love it.”
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Little Caesar’s Pizza is pairing deep dish with stuffed crust in its new Stuffed Crust DEEP! DEEP! Dish Pizza. The plentiful pie is an 8-corner deep dish pizza topped with cheese and pepperoni, surrounded by a crunchy crust loaded with melted cheese. The new pizza offers more than 75% more cheese than the chain’s regular deep dish pizza and is available for a limited time.
“Some of our customers said they wanted even more cheese, so we’re giving them more cheese,” said Rick Moreno, senior vice-president of innovation for Little Caesar’s. “We took our regular DEEP! DEEP! Dish pizza and loaded more than 3-½ feet of cheese right into the crunchy crust to create one of our most indulgent pizzas ever.”
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Church’s Chicken is fusing two fan favorites — the chain’s classic chicken and its honey-butter biscuits — to offer its new Honey-Butter Biscuit Tenders. The dish consists of all-white-meat chicken tender strips dipped in Church’s famous honey-butter biscuit batter, then fried and paired with sweet honey-butter dipping sauce. The tenders are available through May 22.
“We love it when we can indulge our fans by giving them new ways to enjoy their favorite tastes,” said Jennifer Chasteen, senior director of brand and product strategy for Church’s. “Honey-Butter Biscuit Tenders truly are our best thing, wrapped in our other best thing — our legendary chicken and biscuits together in one tasty, dippable, portable creation.”
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McAlister’s Deli is going green with its two new tea offerings: Green Tea and Mango Flavored Green Tea. Made using only Rainforest Alliance Certified green tea leaves, the antioxidant- and nutrient-rich beverages join McAlister’s signature sweet tea.
“We wanted to give our loyal Tea Freaks the option to choose their tea time treat, no matter what flavor they’re craving — so we’re thrilled to go green in more ways than one, with the addition of two delicious green tea flavors to our menu,” said Carin Stutz, president of marketing for McAlister’s Deli. “With the addition of these flavors, we’re proud to support our planet from pick to sip while maintaining the highest quality standards that customers have come to know and love.”
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Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. is offering meat with heat to its breakfast menu with the introduction of Mexican Chorizo Sausage. Made from ground pork seasoned with a spicy blend of herbs and spices, the chain’s chorizo is offered in three new breakfast items. The Chorizo Breakfast Taco features grilled chorizo sausage and scrambled eggs topped with grated cheddar cheese served in a warm flour tortilla. The Chorizo Half Pounder, also served in a warm flour tortilla, offers grilled chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, grated cheddar cheese and red sauce. The Epic Chorizo Scrambler Burrito consists of grilled chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, grated cheddar cheese, crispy hash browns, pico de gallo and red sauce, all wrapped in a warm, oversized flour tortilla.
“We know that guests are looking for convenient value in the morning, but also want quality ingredients to choose from,” said John Cappasola, executive vice-president and chief brand officer for Del Taco. “Whether they’re craving a new option on the Buck & Under Menu at Breakfast or a fully loaded Epic Burrito, our new Chorizo meets these needs as the traditional flavor works well across all of our breakfast platforms.”
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Red Mango is switching up the smoothie scene with its new line of smoothie bowls. The Berry Power Protein Smoothie Bowl features yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, banana, granola, peanut butter and protein. The Acai Berry Banana Smoothie Bowl offers yogurt, acai, blueberries, granola and banana. The Greena Colada Smoothie Bowl consists of yogurt, mango, spinach, banana, granola, pineapple and shredded coconut.
“As our guests become more health-conscious and aware of what they eat, we continue to look for new and exciting ways to offer healthy menu options that can be enjoyed any time of the day,” said Jim Notarnicola, chief marketing officer at BRIX Holdings, parent company of Red Mango. “Our new smoothie bowls give consumers a different way to enjoy our fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies with added toppings to make a well-balanced meal or snack. Smoothie bowls are something everyone can enjoy year-round to satisfy anyone looking to live a healthier, active lifestyle.”
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Charleys Philly Steaks is stacking its fries with toppings. The chain’s new Double Bacon Potato Skin Fries are loaded with warm cheddar cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, sour cream and chives. The fries are available through May 8.
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