Even as 2020 winds down, restaurants are continuing to launch new items on winter menus. This week saw a potpourri of food and drink debuts, ranging from more iterations of the ubiquitous fried chicken sandwich to holiday-themed cocktails and beers. Here’s a roundup of noteworthy menu additions.
Jack in the Box
Two variations on the fried chicken sandwich were introduced by Jack in the Box—the Cluck Sandwich and the Deluxe Cluck Sandwich. Both feature a thick, crispy chicken fillet topped with pickle slices and “mystery sauce” on a brioche bun. The Deluxe version eliminates the sauce but adds melted cheddar, bacon, guacamole, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and mayo to the build. Both are available nationwide starting Thursday.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Chocolate Beignets are the latest offering at Popeyes. The iconic New Orleans pastries have been added to the menu for a limited time, this time in a chocolatey version stuffed with melted Hershey’s chocolate and coated with powdered sugar. Customers can purchase the beignets in three sizes: three-piece ($1.99), six-piece ($3.99) and 12-piece ($7.49).
Beignet fans know that after one bite, the powdered sugar drifts onto your clothing. To cover up the mess, Popeyes is also offering a camouflage hoodie for sale as part of the promotion. It’s available for purchase from www.ThatLookFromPopeyes.com for $35.
For those looking for regionally-inspired LTOs, Wisconsin-based Cousins Subs is adding Wisconsin Steak & Brat and Wisconsin Brat & Bacon subs to its menu. The sandwiches are layered with locally-made brats along with cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, brown mustard and other savory ingredients. A pretzel roll is used with the brat and bacon version, while Italian bread sandwiches the steak and brat sub. Both are available in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana through Apr. 25.
Hurricane Grill & Wings
The winter menu at Hurricane Grill & Wings boasts several new additions, created with heartier ingredients to beat the colder weather. There’s a Fried Meatball Slider drizzled with Asian slaw and a “secret weapon” sauce; a Sweet Sriracha Shrimp Dip with potato dippers, garnished with diced shrimp, shredded cheddar and green onions; a Grilled Steak and Avocado Taco; and a Churrasco Fried Steak entree featuring the chain’s churrasco steak breaded and deep fried and then smothered with jalapeno cream gravy. All are available through Feb. 28, along with a featured cocktail—a Spicy Pineapple Paloma.
Bartaco differentiates its menu with a recurring “secret taco,” promoted with the hashtag #bartacosecret. Until Jan. 18, it’s the Seared Chorizo Taco—a pairing of Mexican-style chorizo strips seared on the plancha and topped with avocado salsa. The featured taco is available for takeout orders and sells for $2.75.
The meal kit company has created four recipes inspired by the movie Soul, due for release on Disney+ on Dec. 25. Blue Apron starts launching the family-friendly kits on Dec. 21, sending one per week through Jan. 11. The lineup includes Turkey Sloppy Joes with Shishito Peppers and Carrot Fries; Pan-Roasted Chicken and Honey Mustard with Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes and Collard Greens; Cajun Chicken Lettuce Cups with Pickled Pepper Yogurt and Peanuts; and Salmon and Homemade BBQ Sauce with Roasted Vegetable, Romaine and Kale Salad. Parents and kids can cook the dishes together while listening to the Soul soundtrack, which releases a week earlier than the movie.
Curry Up Now
Customers at fast casual Curry Up Now can purchase cocktails for the first time along with their Indian-inspired food. Six low-proof cocktail choices are on offer at all Bay Area locations. They include Mango Sangria; Sherry & Tonic; Lost in Translation (sake, yuzu, cocoa nibs, green tea and cherry bark vanilla bitters); Tropical Depressions (sweet vermouth, cappelletti aperitivo, pineapple, hibiscus and rose); Cobbler (Oloroso sherry, cocchi Americano, lemon, demerara, mint, blackberries and Corazon bitters); and Spritz Life (sparkling wine, seltzer, olive, chocolate-orange bitters and cappelletti). Marketed as part of the chain’s Mortar & Pestle bar brand, the drinks are crafted with a variety of sophisticated bitters, wines and mixers.
Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom
Good Riddance IPA is being poured at Old Chicago, giving customers an opportunity to celebrate the end of 2020 and toast better days ahead with a beer. The chain collaborated with Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, its sister brand, to launch the craft brew. The beer is brewed in Colorado and offers pine and citrus flavor notes. Old Chicago claims Good Riddance IPA pairs well with bolder items on its menu, such as Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls, Jamaican Jerk Wings, Double Deckeroni Pizza and the Chicago Fire Calzone.