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.


Taste Tracker: Smashburger adds wings, Jimmy John’s goes crunchy and Newk’s turns up the heat

Also trending this week: Halloween treats at Baskin-Robbins and Insomnia Cookies; Krystal’s mini chicks; Zaxby’s loaded fries and pork makes menu news.


Velvet Taco, Bartaco, Tacos 4 Life and more cook up specials for National Taco Day

Plus plenty of new shareables, snacks, salads, soups and sandwiches as October begins.

The pumpkin harvest is not over yet but other fall flavors and unique items are emerging on menus as cooler weather sets in.

Chains play up cocktails, value, bowls and yes—more pumpkin—as fall menu rollouts continue.

Pizza Inn’s new crust oozes cheese; fresh takes on chicken at Black Bear, Golden Chick and Chicken Salad Chick; and menus model the latest seasonal trends.

Fall’s in full force at Cracker Barrel, BD’s and Miller’s Ale House and a continuing deluge of pumpkin spice drives menu launches.

Taste Tracker: Pickles to eat and drink at Sonic; BJs gets peanutty; Hatch chilies heat up Taco Cabana; Taco Bell does a corny strawberry dessert; Mooyah’s, Baskin-Robbins and Dolly Llama shake up cookies; and watermelon continues to trend.

Taste Tracker: Cool drinks debut at Applebee’s, Sonic and Caribou Coffee; Velvet Taco and Baja Fresh change up tacos; KFC tests nuggets; it’s a wrap for Arby’s; and more menu news of the week.

Tacos and fajitas take on new flavors at TGIFridays, Fuzzy’s and bartaco; CPK does seafood and BWW a chicken sandwich; bowls trend at Native Foods, Pokeworks and Flat Top Grill; and more food and drink news of the week.

Taste Tracker: Boston Market roasts nuggets; Zaxby’s tosses up salads; Chili’s and Bonefish get busy at the bar; new shakes and scoops at Culver’s, Main Event, Baskin-Robbins and Marble Slab; and icy coffees, tropical tastes and more come to menus.

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