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10 successful menu adds from the top-grossing independents

Many of the concepts among Restaurant Business’ ranking of the Top 100 Independents have been destinations for decades—but that doesn’t mean they’re resting on their laurels. As at any restaurant, successful menu additions keep guests coming back for more, a key strategy in today’s traffic-challenged climate.

So, what are some of the items that moved the needle at $10 million-plus operations? We asked operators of the highest-grossing independents to share their most successful menu additions of the past year. Here’s a roundup:

1. Continual addition of locally sourced proteins and ingredients

Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. (Rank: 3; 2013 sales: $26.7 million)

2. Fried chicken and waffles

Prime 112 in Miami Beach, Fla. (Rank: 6; 2013 sales: $23.3 million)

3. Lighter entrees paired with soup or salad

Bob Chinn’s Crab House in Wheeling, Ill. (Rank: 18; 2013 sales: $17.2 million)

4. Beefsteak tomatoes layered with smoked bacon, blue cheese, green-leaf lettuce, croutons and aged sherry dressing

‘21’ Club in New York City (Rank: 19; 2013 sales: $17.1 million)

5. New bar bites menu for late afternoon and expanded foodservice in the bar, in general

Scoma’s in San Francisco (Rank: 32; 2013 sales: $15.4 million)

6. Hickory-smoked salt and brown sugar-rubbed 14-ounce bone-in Cowboy-cut rib-eye

Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant in Coalinga, Calif. (Rank: 51; 2013 sales: $13.4 million)

7. Rib steak with gorgonzola cream sauce

Portland City Grill in Portland, Ore. (Rank: 54; 2013 sales: $13.3 million)

8. Craft beers and locally sourced food

Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Mich. (Rank: 84; 2013 sales: $11.2 million)

9. Bone-in rib-eye

Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue, Wash. (Rank: 86; 2013 sales: $11.1 million)

10. Light and simple farm items; small bites

Willow Creek Farm in Broadlands, Va. (Rank: 98; 2013 sales: $10.2 million)

View the full ranking of the Top 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants

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