Sandwiches are dominating menus this week, and it’s no great surprise. They’re portable, delivery-friendly and adaptable to many ingredients and flavors—the perfect platform for the way consumers are eating now. Chains are also tying into March events and holidays with themed foods and drinks and carryout meals. And now that the chicken sandwich wars have reached their peak, is it time for a spicy burger battle to begin? Take a look at the menu news of the week to see what’s trending.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary this year, Schlotzsky’s is adding three new sizes and more meat to its sandwich lineup—including The Original, the sandwich that launched the menu back in 1971. That sandwich is piled with ham, salami, three cheeses, olives, lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard and a signature sauce on a sourdough bun. All Schlotzsky’s sandwiches are now available in small, medium and giant sizes as well as a wrap.
Craft Sandwiches are the latest addition to the menu at Slim Chickens. The new category features elevated ingredients, such as a brioche bun and flavor-infused mayonnaise. The lineup includes four fried chicken sandwiches, all of which start with a buttermilk-marinated chicken breast. There’s the Craft Chicken Club, layered with bacon and Monterey Jack cheese; the Craft Cayenne Ranch Sandwich, which includes crispy fried onions, dill pickles and cayenne ranch-infused mayo; the Craft Buffalo Ranch Sandwich enhanced with spicy Buffalo sauce; and the classic Crispy Chicken Sandwich.
Philly’s Best is trying to capitalize on the chicken craze with its latest LTO: The Bacon Ranch Chicken Cheesesteak. Although not in the competitive fried chicken category, the sandwich features thinly sliced chicken griddled on a flat-top, melted American cheese, cirspy bacon and creamy ranch on a hearth-baked roll. It’s available through April 30 at all of the chain’s California locations.
To rev up competition in the burger segment, BurgerFi is launching the Spicy Wagyu Burger, branded by the fast casual as the SWAG burger. It features a double wagyu and brisket blend burger, charred jalapenos, candied ghost pepper bacon, tomato relish, habanero pepper jack cheese and hot steak sauce. The burger showcases contrasting layers of flavor from the heat of the chile peppers, the sweetness of the tomato relish, the creaminess of the cheese and the boldness of wagyu beef.
California Pizza Kitchen
The landing of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars inspired California Pizza Kitchen to create a Red Planet Pizza. Hot and fiery like the planet Mars, the 7-inch pizza is topped with spicy marinara sauce, goat cheese, pepperoni and Fresno chilies. It’s available for a very short time—March 8 and March 10—and only at its Pasadena location in California.
Spring officially arrives on March 20, but Cracker Barrel is welcoming it a little earlier with its new Spring Into the Season campaign. A highlight of the promotion is a new Prime Rib Heat n’ Serve Family Dinner option, geared to upcoming spring celebrations, such as Easter. The meal includes roast prime rib of beef accompanied with au jus and horseradish sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy and two additional sides, along with sweet yeast rolls. It joins the Easter Heat n’ Serve Family dinner with a centerpiece of spiral-sliced sugar-cured ham. Each serves four to six.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Carrabba’s is also gearing up for spring with seasonal items that are available for carryout, delivery or dine-in. There’s a family meal bundle to-go for five, composed of Chicken Piccata with a fresh salad and bread. Limited time Tuscan-Grilled Lamb Chops and Mahi Wulfe (wood-grilled fish topped with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil lemon butter sauce) are new entrees on the menu through April 4.
Black Bear Diner
Chili in three varieties is returning to the menu at Black Bear Diner until April 30. Included in the limited-time offer are a Chili-Stuffed Breakfast Burrito, Chili Cheddar Cheeseburger and Tri-Tip N’ Chili Platter. During the week of March 17-21, the chain is commemorating St. Patrick’s Day with three specials: Irish Benedict (griddled corned beef hash topped with poached eggs and Hollandaise on an English muffin); a Reuben Sandwich and Corned Beef & Cabbage. Also available throughout March is a dessert that “wears the green”—a Mint Cream & Chocolate Cookie Pie.
Cotton Patch Café
A number of long-term LTOs debuted this month at Cotton Patch Café and are running through mid-summer. Customers can choose from a variety of scratch-made entrees, including Mushroom Swiss Chicken Fried, Snate Fe Grilled Chicken, Santa Fe Grilled Shrimp and Grilled Chicken Alfredo Pasta. The Texas-inspired concept is also introducing a $6 Mix & Match menu on weekdays from 11 a.m.-4p.m., which allows guests to pair soups, sandwiches and/or salads.
Customers now can accompany their morning coffee with a new vegetarian breakfast sandwich at Caribou Coffee. The Beyond Meat Sausage with Egg & Mozzarella Sandwich combines a plant-based breakfast sausage patty, cage-free fried egg patty and mozzarella cheese on an herb ciabatta roll.
The March Flavor of the Month at Baskin-Robbins is Oreo ‘n Cold Brew, a blend of cold brew coffee-flavored ice cream, Oreo cookie chunks and a chocolate cookie ribbon. Customers can try the new flavor in an ice cream scoop, milkshake or customizable cake.