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Romano’s breaks the 2-for-$20 mold

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is pushing beyond casual dining’s staple two-for-$20 promotion with a limited-time tasting menu that raises the price for a party of two to $30.

For that ticket, each guest gets four courses: An aperitivo of toasted ravioli; a Caesar salad; pasta in either a red or cream sauce; and spiedini, or what the chain describes as a “grilled skewers done Italian style.” Guests can choose between a chicken or sausage skewer, or pay $1 more for a shrimp or steak version. Each is topped with what Romano’s is calling its verde sauce.

Many competing chains, particularly in the so-called grill-and-bar sector, offer a packaged $20 deal for couples. The party of two can pick two entrées from a special menu, plus an appetizer to split.

"We've elevated the standard coursed meal and added Italian flair," said Kristen Temple, Romano’s vice president of marketing.

The 208-unit Romano’s chain is owned by Ignite Restaurant Group, which indicated when it bought the chain from Brinker International that it intended to upgrade the menu. 

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