Just Salad, Abuelo's and Perkins freshen up the menu

Taste Tracker: Taco Bell goes all in on chicken; Culver’s gets a bacon upgrade; shrimp comes to Zaxby’s; and pastels trend at Krispy Kreme and Baskin-Robbins.
menu items
Photos courtesy of the brands.

Restaurants start teasing spring ingredients in early March, but come April, there’s no holding back. Fresh flavors are showing up in every category, and menus are offering a crowd-pleasing mix of health and indulgence. Click on the video to get a taste, then dig into the menu items below.


Just Salad leans healthy, partnering with Michelin-starred chef/restaurateur Marc Forgione on the Chopped Mezze, his spin on a Greek salad. It features Kalamata olives, chickpeas, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, crumbled feta, hemp hearts and a Forgione-created oregano-spiced vinaigrette. This is the fast casual’s second chef partnership, following a culinary collaboration with Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen. Also new are a Peruvian Chicken Bowl, Protein Power Bowl and BBQ Shroom Bowl, as well as Organic Kale and Sweet Potato Soup.

Fruit takes a dive into decadence with the Ultimate French Toast Platters at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. Wedges of brioche French toast get toppings of Lemon Blueberry, Chocolate-Covered Strawberry, Strawberry Cheesecake and Banana Nut & Caramel, all finished with creamy whipped topping.

Three lighter entrees and a cocktail are on offer at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant through June 17. The Fresca Steak Bowl and Fresca Chicken Bowl both combine lime rice, black beans, zucchini, pickled red onions, tortilla strips, arugula, tomatoes and avocado with their respective proteins. Joining the bowls is Mahi Valarta, grilled mahi with langostinos and a sherry sauce, and the sparkling Flora Loca Rita Drink made with tequila and elderflower.

Cantina Chicken rolls out nationally at all Taco Bell locations. The slow-roasted chicken stars in a Cantina Chicken Burrito, Soft Taco, Crispy Taco, Quesadilla and Bowl. Each item is accompanied by Avocado Verde Salsa.

Krispy Kreme debuted a collection of Spring Minis in four varieties, adorned with sweet seasonal icons. Included in the quartet are the Mini Birds Nest Doughnut made with Cadbury mini eggs; the Strawberry Egg Doughnut dipped in strawberry icing with drizzles of teal and yellow; the Robin’s Egg Doughnut with daisy sprinkles; and the Hatching Chick Doughnut with yellow icing and white nonpareils.

For the first time, chicken-centric chain Zaxby’s added seafood to its menu with the launch of Southern Fried Shrimp as an LTO. The crispy butterflied shrimp are breaded with garlic and onion powder, seasoned with pepper and buttermilk, and served with Zaxtail Sauce—a blend of the chain's signature Zax Sauce with cocktail sauce and a dash of horseradish.

Chicken Parmesan Pizza is Pizza Inn’s latest menu addition. The limited-time pizza starts with the restaurant’s house-made dough and is baked with toppings of whole-milk mozzarella, breaded, hand-sliced chicken breast, marinara sauce and fresh-cut basil.

Marigold Dreamsicle is the name of Baskin-Robbins’ April Flavor of the Month. The pastel-colored ice cream features marigold and vanilla bean ice creams paired with an orange swirl. It’s made with real marigold blossoms to impart an authentic floral flavor.

Culver’s upgraded its ingredient inventory with new thick-cut bacon. The tender, thick-cut bacon balances smoky and savory notes with a hint of sweetness. To celebrate the introduction, guests are invited on Monday to add the new bacon to any sandwich at no extra charge.

Iced tea concept HTeaO is bringing back Strawberry Passion tea for spring and summer. The combo of passionfruit and strawberries creates a slightly sweet, fruity and tangy flavor profile. The LTO runs through July 31.

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