At the start of the pandemic, restaurants quickly turned their attention to takeout and delivery to generate business from housebound consumers. Family meals and meal kits grew in popularity, as operators competed to feed all those families and groups quarantining together.
Restaurants have come up with a lot of innovative solutions, but five months in, diners are looking for something new and different. The creativity keeps coming, as these menus demonstrate.
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar went retro with its new TV dinner-style takeout meals. The casual-dining chain launched five classic Americana TV Dinners to-go, inspired by the frozen meal’s aluminum trays that were all the rage in the 1950s.
Each of Lazy Dog’s scratch-made versions comes with an entrée, sides and dessert. Choices include Grilled Lemon Chicken with housemade citrus cream sauce, wild rice, garlic butter green beans with almonds and pineapple upside-down cake; Cheese Enchiladas with housemade chipotle ranchero sauce, Spanish rice and black beans, and cinnamon churro caramel cake; and Beer-battered Fish N Chips with waffle-cut potato chips, sweet potato tot and white corn succotash, and lemon blueberry cake. The dinners, which start at $10, can be popped in the freezer and heated in the oven as needed.
The new Nacho Meal Kit from Moe’s Southwest Grill comes with a video and infographic to advise fans how to dress up and construct nachos. The tongue-in-cheek promotion is aimed to avoid the dreaded “naked nacho phenomenon,” with a guide to proportions, toppings and plating. All the necessary ingredients come with the kit, including a base of chips or tortillas, two proteins, queso, pico de gallo, beans, sour cream, jalapenos and salsa for the nachos. Also on hand is a new Fajita Meal Kit.
COVID-19 has fueled consumers’ desire for immunity-boosting ingredients and three new kits from I Love Juice Bar feed the need. The Health Kit includes six juices with a choice of a “sniffle stopper” shot, toomeric [sic] shot or ginger shot, while the Self Care Kit has three juices with a choice of shots. Customers can also opt for a Blender Cups Kit, which includes four smoothie cups for at-home blending. Options include those based on berry, mint, orange and pineapple flavors.
The Big Yellow Box is a new catering option from Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Customers can order up several different combos, all of which serve 12 people. The five choices feature either pulled pork, Texas brisket, sandwiches, wings and ribs or a combo of brisket and pork and each comes with sides, rolls, sauce and other accompaniments. The Big Yellow Box is a convenient way to cater to a smaller social gathering.