Everything old is new again. Similar to how fashion favorites from decades ago such as high-top sneakers and denim everything are back in vogue, so too are restaurant favorites from the past. Numerous top chains are reverting back to the classics, menuing up vintage fare from four, five and even 20 years ago to stir up hype, evoke a sense of nostalgia and appease consumers who have been begging to see these items return after years-long hiatuses. Here are four items returning on menus.
1. A fan-favorite pasta from 2013
In early May, Noodles & Company brought back Pasta Fresca after a four-year absence. The now-permanent item features its original recipe: penne pasta, tomato and spinach tossed with balsamic, olive oil and roasted garlic and finished with Parmesan. Noodles & Company says it received thousands of requests from customers to bring back the pasta dish. “We listened to our guests, and as the saying goes, the customer is always right,” said Jonathan Tress, vice president of marketing. The company announced the dish’s return on social media and with in-restaurant teasers in the weeks leading up to the relaunch with Facebook posts like, “You freaked. We listened.”
2. A 1990s dessert pizza…
This month, Dairy Queen brought back Treatzza Pizzas, a fan favorite from decades ago. “There’s an obvious resurgence in everything '90s,” said Barry Westrum, executive vice president of marketing, but the chain chose to go very 2017 in the way it announced the sweet’s comeback: through Facebook and Instagram. The permanent frozen dessert comes in four varieties: Choco Brownie, Reese’s, M&M and Heath. The crust is made with fudge cookie crunch topped with vanilla soft serve, pieces of candy and a chocolate drizzle. It’s precut into eight pieces.
…And a 1990s slushee favorite
Also at Dairy Queen, the Misty Slush (formerly known as Mr. Misty in the '80s and '90s) is returning permanently on June 26. “Both Treatzza Pizza and Misty Slush were fan favorites in that era. Those two treats were loved by fans from day one. They asked us to bring them back and we delivered,” said Westrum. The frozen slush comes in five flavors: cherry, blue raspberry, grape, strawberry kiwi and lemon lime.
4. An ice cream favorite from 2012
Last in restaurants in 2012, the Rolo McFlurry has returned for a limited time at McDonald’s restaurants. Available May 24-Sept. 11, the ice cream treat features vanilla soft serve mixed with caramel-filled chocolate candies. The launch coincides with the chain’s new cleaner soft serve made with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, a transition that started in 2016 and is now nearly complete, according to the chain. The change was made to menu food “that our customers can feel good about eating,” said Darci Forrest, senior director of menu innovation.