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Taste Tracker

Pat Cobe

Every week, Senior Menu Editor Pat Cobe takes a look at the latest new menu news from major chains and menu trends. The column features extensive work from RB Art Director Nico Heins on a visual presentation.


Restaurants gear up for Cinco de Mayo and launch more spring specials

Taste Tracker: Cinco de Mayo hits menus at Del Taco, Baja Fresh, Taco John’s and more; new cocktails on hand for P.F. Chang’s, CPK and Taco Cabana; Sonic celebrates pickles; and smoothies, sweets and sips trend on menus.


Bowls, pizza and 4/20 specials take menus to new heights

Cheba Hut, Velvet Taco, TGI Fridays feed the munchies; bowls trend at Dos Toros, Ghenghis Grill, Sweetfin; Papa John’s riffs on pizza; beverages rule at Corner Bakery and Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Black Bear Diner does Easter brunch and dinner; a dozen new dishes for Friendly’s; Mellow Mushroom takes a detour from pizza; and donuts, hot dogs and ice cream get dressed for the holiday.

Taste Tracker: Chimichurri at Sweetgreen and Cubanos at Potbelly; chicken gets a jolt of spice at Moe’s; Dairy Queen rolls out Stackburgers; Sonic’s slush ring, Dog Haus' cocktails and more menu newsmakers of the week.

Taste Tracker: Tacos make news at Freshii and bowls at Taco Cabana; Firebirds does brunch; seafood heats up at Smokey Bones while Red Robin plays with smoke; drinks take on spring flavors.

Taste Tracker: El Pollo Loco adds birria; Szechuan accents Starbird Chicken; breakfast gets heartier at Taco John’s and Bob Evans while Noodles & Co. tries plant-based chicken; sweet news at Cinnaholic.

Auntie Anne’s and Buffalo’s Café go mad for basketball; BWW ties merch with food; Black Bear and Velvet Taco celebrate St. Patrick all week; and Newk’s and Miller’s turn up the heat.

Wow Bao, Rapid Fired Pizza, Corner Bakery and Dog Haus turn to plants; March events inspire Bennigan’s and Toasted Yolk; burgers rock at Hard Rock and Wayback; and Applebee’s goes sweet.

Taste Tracker: Lenten LTOs at Dickey’s, Popeyes, Del Taco and Red Lobster; Wendy’s into March Madness; a turkey sandwich for Jimmy John’s; Chopt travels to Asia; and more menu news of the week.

Panera and Noodles & Co. debut new salads; sandwiches star at Chick-fil-A and Eggs Up Grill; Metro Diner, Bonefish Grill and Lion’s Choice get a jump on Lent; celebrating with margaritas.

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