Chicken pretty much rules the roost when it comes to poultry on menus. While plenty of operators offer turkey sandwiches at lunch, and turkey sausage is on the rise as a breakfast option—increasing more than 3% year over year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor—turkey entrees are most often limited to holiday meals. Yet 39% of consumers who eat turkey would like restaurants to offer it as a protein choice in a wider variety of entrees during the rest of the year, cites Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report. These operators are treating the bird to flavors and cooking techniques that go beyond the traditional sliced, cooked turkey with gravy.
1. Smothered turkey wings
At Amy Ruth’s, a casual restaurant in New York City known for its chicken and waffles, the kitchen creates a cost-effective dish by cooking turkey wings in a Southern-style braise. Many cooks relegate the wings to the stockpot, but here they sell for a high-margin $12.25 entree.
2. Turkey pot roast
For a new take on the classic turkey dinner, The Flying Biscuit Cafe features slow-roasted and hand-pulled turkey with brown gravy served over mashed potatoes and green beans. By menuing the dish as pot roast, the menu capitalizes on consumers' craving for retro comfort foods. The dinner is served with a fresh-baked biscuit for $10.99.
4. Slow-smoked turkey
On its Bar-B-Q Platter section of the menu, the Bandana's Bar-B-Q chain offers slow-smoked turkey breast as one of the meat options. Nine ounces of turkey are served with two sides and two pieces of garlic bread for $12.99 for dinner; the same entree with pork is $11.99.
6. Turkey menued like meat
While a number of operators are smoking and barbecuing turkey like beef or pork, Boston University’s dining services gives one of its items a beefy name: Barbecued Turkey London Broil. On its rotating dinner menus, the college also does grilled turkey marinated with Latin flavors.
7. Marinated turkey tips
Another menu that treats turkey to a meaty description is the one at Boston Kitchen Pizza. In addition to pizza, this Boston-based restaurant offers a roster of entrees, including Marinated Turkey Tips ($8.95). The turkey is cut from breast and thigh meat and marinated in a signature sauce.