As March comes to an end—most definitely not going out like a lamb in some parts of the country—April is bringing a host of new items to menus. While some feature fresh, spring ingredients, others showcase pumped-up flavors and combos. Pizza is a popular platform for experimentation, Korean ingredients top a hot dog and plants replace meat in Middle Eastern and breakfast specialties. Customers can even toast April Fool’s Day with a themed cocktail.
Sandwiches are not the only vehicle for crispy fried chicken. Del Taco is adding the fan favorite to tacos and burritos, enhancing the crispy chicken strips with honey chipotle barbecue sauce. Along with the Honey Chipotle BBQ Crispy Chicken Taco and Epic Honey Chipotle BBQ Crispy Chicken & Bacon Burrito, there’s Honey Chipotle BBQ Ranch Loaded Fries topped with the sweet-smoky-hot sauce, ranch dressing, seasoned beef, bacon, grated cheese, diced onions and chopped cilantro. The items range from $1 for the taco to $5 for the burrito.
Quick-service chain Panda Express is menuing a Chinese version of surf 'n' turf in its limited-time Wok-Seared Steak and Shrimp. The plump shrimp and Angus sirloin steak—two more upscale proteins—are tossed with potatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, onions and sugar snap peas in a savory Chinese-inspired steak sauce. Searing in a wok brings a hint of smokiness to the dish.
The Halal Guys
Meatless LTOs are new arrivals at The Halal Guys restaurants nationwide. The chain is swapping out the traditional beef in its signature gyro sandwiches with a house-made plant-based alternative that’s a combo of pea protein, brown rice, beets, mushrooms, coconut oil, a proprietary spice mix and paprika. Guests can opt for the plant protein served over rice, as a sandwich or in a warm pita. A new vegan tzatziki is also available as a topping. And Eggplant Hummus joins the menu, blended with chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. It’s the first of four unique hummus flavors that The Halal Guys will roll out this year.
An updated crust makes its debut at Pizza Inn. The house-made dough is crafted with a buttery garlic and cheese blend featuring Romano and Parmesan cheeses, and the crust edges are finished with the same blend. The result is an extra-savory flavor profile and crisp texture. The Garlic Buttery Crust will be added to all the pizza styles: New York Pan, Italian, Crispy Thin and Stuffed Crust.
Tuscan Family-Style Pizza is the latest addition to the flatbread category at Cosi. Three varieties are on offer: Tuscan Pepperoni Pizza with a base of marinara sauce topped with mozzarella and pepperoni; Tuscan Buffalo Chicken, featuring spicy chicken, blue cheese crumbles, ranch dressing and a drizzle of Buffalo sauce; and Tuscan Margherita topped with marinara, mozzarella and fresh basil.
Round Table Pizza
The Street Taco Pizza at Round Table showcases the bold flavors of a Mexican street taco atop a pizza crust. The LTO combines charred corn, chorizo, tomatoes, crema, tortilla strips, green onions, Round Table’s three-cheese blend and salsa roja on the chain’s homemade dough. The limited-time pizza can be ordered in several sizes and formats, including extra-large, large pan, medium, personal and stuffed crust.
Buldogi is the latest item to come out of Dog Haus’ Chef Collaboration Series. The chain partnered with chef/restaurateur Chris Oh for this Korean mashup, which includes an all-beef hot dog topped with Korean barbecue beef, kimchi mayo, pickled vegetables, a sunny side-up egg, scallions and furikake served on a grilled Hawaiian roll. The Buldogi is available at all locations from April 1-May 16, and for every purchase, Dog Haus will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Now through April 27, a limited-time seasonal menu is on offer at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. The new entrees include Key Lime Grilled Striped Bass served over ancient grains pilaf with asparagus, roasted tomatoes and charred corn; a Ham-Jam Burger topped with pepper jack and sharp cheddar, ham, fried egg and bacon jam; and a NY Strip & BLT Salad. Also on the menu is a shareable appetizer of Lobster Spinach Queso and an Ooey Gooey Butter Cake for dessert. All are available for dine-in service or curbside pickup.
The plant-based breakfast sandwich trend has been embraced by Philz Coffee. The new Philz Plant Powered Sandwich is composed of Beyond breakfast sausage, a folded JUST Egg vegan egg and Diaya nondairy cheese. The sandwich is available at all locations across California. Philz joins several other coffee chains that have recently begun offering plant-based sausage on breakfast sandwiches, including Dunkin’, Peet’s and Caribou Coffee.
Park on Fremont
Consumers finding themselves in Las Vegas on April 1 can order up an Apple Fools cocktail to toast April Fool’s Day. Available for one day only at Park on Fremont, a restaurant in Corner Bar Management’s portfolio, the drink is made with sour apple schnapps, vodka, grenadine, lemon juice and simple syrup and goes for $10.