Mid-season menu deals at Fogo de Chao, O'Charley's and Perkins

Taste Tracker: Golden Corral, Whataburger, White Castle and Krystal reel in seafood; jackfruit becomes permanent at Smashburger; bowls boom at Taco Cabana and WaBa Grill; and Twin Peaks crafts new cocktails.
Photos courtesy of the brands.

It’s the shoulder season for menu launches, as winter specials segue into spring. But seafood continues to dominate menu news, with Lent in the forefront throughout this month and next.

That doesn’t mean meat eaters are being forgotten. Fogo de Chao added a premium porterhouse cut to its full “Churrasco Experience” at no additional cost for a limited time.  The porterhouse is an oversized steak cut that includes both a New York strip and filet. It’s cooked bone-in, fire-roasted and seasoned with rock salt, then sliced tableside.

Appealing to those with slimmer wallets, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery is also pushing value with a 5 Meals under $10 deal. Included in the lineup are dinner entrees such as Homestyle Meatloaf, Country Fried Steak, Grilled Fish & Shrimp and Chicken Strips. The family-dining chain is also offering their seafood-centric Coastal Classics menu with Lenten specials like Grilled Salmon, Fish ‘N Chips and Hibachi Grilled Shrimp Skillet.

Southern-style entrees and seafood are luring customers at O’Charley’s, with a variety of new dishes. There’s a Lobster Quesadilla, Lobster & Shrimp Scampi and Blackened Rainbow Trout, topped off with a decadent Chocolate Cake for dessert.

The LTOs at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza lean towards Italian cuisine. On the menu are Stromboli with Pepperoni & Nonna’s Italian Sausage crafted from house-made pizza dough, an Arugula Burrata Salad and Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with Anthony’s Romano Focaccia.

Golden Corral addedchicken tendersto its menu. Customers can choose from three flavor variations: Classic, Mandarin Orange and Nashville Hot. Guests can also catch a seasonal seafood favorite at the buffet chain with the return of All You Can Eat Butterfly Shrimp.

Shrimp also star at White Castle. The fast food chain brought back Shrimp Nibblers and Sriracha Shrimp Nibblers through the end of March. And for those who want a change of pace, White Castle is putting crispy fried Clam Strips on the menu for a limited time. Over at Krystal, the Krabbycake Slider is the newest Catch of the Day. It joins the popular Shrimp Po’Boy and Shrimp Basket for the 2024 Lenten season.

Burger specialist Whataburger is going fishing now, too. The Whatacatch Sandwich features a wild-caught Alaskan pollock fillet, breaded with seasoned panko and fried, then layered with tomato, lettuce and tartar sauce on a bun. Guests can customize with creamy pepper sauce and cheese or order the pollock fillets on a Whatacatch Platter.

WaBa Grill puts a different spin on seafood by putting it in a rice bowl. Debuting on the menu are Grilled Salmon and Jumbo Shrimp Boom Boom Veggie Bowls. The fish and shrimp are cooked to order, tossed with fresh vegetables and flavored with creamy and spicy Boom Boom sauce.

Chilaquiles Bowls are trending at Taco Cabana, a breakfast favorite made with crispy tortilla strips, scrambled eggs, ranchero or green sauce, sour cream and cotija cheese. But seafood fans can get their fix here as well. New Fish Tacos rolled out this month, featuring wild caught, beer-battered Icelandic cod topped with a creamy pepper-limón sauce, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo.

Vegetarian dishes are also an option at Lent and beyond. Smashburger solidified its partnership with Jack & Annie’s, producers of a jackfruit burger, and the plant-based patty is now on the permanent menu. The burger build includes American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, Smash Sauce and ketchup on a toasted bun.

Italian beef concept Buona is also going veggie-forward with the return of its iconic Chicago Pepper and Egg Sandwich for a limited time. The sandwich, which runs through March 29, pairs scrambled eggs with sauteed green peppers on Italian bread.

Other concepts are tempting guests with more indulgent choices. Krispy Kreme teamed up with Hershey’s on a new Chocomania Collection featuring four chocolatey donuts. There’s Hershey’s Galaxy Brownie, Black and White Chocolate Chip Dream, Chocolate Cake Overload and Chocolate Iced.

AndTwin Peaks is refreshing its bar with a batch of new cocktails, focusing on bourbon, tequila and Aperol. The selection includes a Cuban Old Fashioned and Aperol Spritz, as well as makeovers of favorites such as the Casamigos Spicy Margarita and Wild Turkey 101 Stone Sour.

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