New year, new chicken specials at KFC, Biscuitville and El Pollo Loco

Taste Tracker: Winter specials warm up Bonefish Grill; Dunkin’ and Salt & Straw chill out; MOD Pizza and Papa Johns tout new pies; and more menu news of the week.
Images courtesy of the brands.

New food and drink items were ready to launch onto menus as soon as the clock struck midnight on Dec. 31. Some are helping consumers get off to a healthy start or jump into plant-based eating for Veganuary. Others are downright indulgent to bring comfort in the chilly days ahead.

KFC is following up on the success of its two for $5 wraps by expanding the line with three new varieties. The Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap, Spicy Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap and Honey BBQ Chicken Wrap join the original Spicy Slaw Chicken Wrap and Classic Chicken Wrap. All feature a soft tortilla wrapped around an extra-crispy tender.

Nashville Hot Chicken is in test at Biscuitville locations in Virginia. The new flavor heats up a chicken biscuit sandwich, a chicken breakfast biscuit with fried egg and cheese, and chicken fries. Latin chicken specialist El Pollo Loco is returning its Double Pollo Fit Bowls to help customers stick to their new year fitness goals. Both the classic and street corn versions feature double the portion of grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, super greens, queso fresco and creamy cilantro dressing, with extras like salsa fresca, pepitas and corn.

Just Salad partnered with Michelin-starred Dirt Candy restaurant on its new Veganuary salad—aptly called The Dirt Candy. The restaurant’s chef-owner, Amanda Cohen, paired greens and other fresh vegetables, sesame tofu, pumpkin seeds and a vegan house-made ranch dressing for the plant-based bowl. Also geared to the Veganuary theme, Salt & Straw debuted its Dairy Free Decadence Series featuring five vegan ice cream flavors. There’s Death by Chocolate Chocolate Cake, Marionberry Oatmeal Cobbler, Toasted Oat Milk & Cookies, Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Bananas Foster with Candied Pecans. They’re made with coconut cream, oat milk and/or barley milk.

Also on the more indulgent side, MOD Pizza introducedthe Tailgate Trio—three pizzas with craveable toppings. The group includes Buffalo Chicken Pizza with a base of hot sauce and three cheeses; Bacon Jalapeno Popper Pizza topped with four cheeses; and Spinach Artichoke Dip Pizza with mozzarella, asiago and feta. And Papa Johns introduced two additions to its stuffed crust collection: a Cheesey Calzone Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza filled with mozzarella and garlic-herb ricotta and Cheesey Calzone Papa Bites, formatted as a shareable side.

Bonefish Grill has a winter specials menu featuring a number of new dishes and two cocktails. The popular Winter White Cosmo returns on the drinks side, along with a Smoked Old Fashioned. On the food side, guests can nibble a Crispy Bang Artichokes appetizer or dig into Linguine del Mar, Smoky Tomato Grouper with Parmesan Risotto and the returning Old Fashioned Cedar Plank Salmon with bourbon honey glaze. The same smoky tomato butter can be ordered on a bone-in pork chop or bistro filet, and for dessert, there’s Chocolate Lava Cake.

Pink and red velvet welcome the new year at Dunkin’. Pink Velvet Macchiato comes back as a coffee selection and a Frosty Red Velvet Specialty Donut makes its debut. Also making a comeback is the Pancake Wake-Up Wrap filled with bacon or sausage, egg and melted cheese with a side of maple syrup for dipping. And Sweet Black Pepper Seasoned Bacon is available again in a sandwich or a side. New on the beverage front is White Hazelnut Bark Coffee inspired by Dunkin’s fan-favorite Toasted White Chocolate Swirl.

Click on the video below to see the new menu items in action.


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