The last week of January brings a renewed push for meals-to-go and special deals from operators. But as we wrap up the first month of 2021, restaurants are already promoting February events. Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and Lent all fall on the calendar soon, and seasonal tie-ins are rolling out. Here’s what’s making menu news this week.
Seven “No Brainer Deals” are on offer from Farmer Boys, with items starting at $3. Geared to customers seeking a light breakfast, afternoon pick-me-up or a menu sampler, the deals range from a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Muffin, to Crispy French Toast Dippers and a Cheeseburger (all $3). Slightly more pricey are Fried Chicken Dippers ($3.25) and Parm-Crusted Grilled Cheese ($4). Farmer Boys is introducing the specials systemwide following a positive response after testing in Nevada last year.
General Tso’s gets a southern accent in Zaxby’s latest LTO.The fast casual infused its boneless wings with the iconic sweet-hot flavor and is serving them up with a side of ranch, crinkle-cut fries, Texas toast and a soft drink, starting at $6.49. To create the General Tso flavor profile, Zaxby’s combined some of its current wing sauces, including nuclear, barbecue and teriyaki, to create a new sauce with notes of ginger, soy, sesame, garlic, onion, and red and habanero peppers.
Health and an active lifestyle continue to be the focus of Luna Grill. The Mediterranean fast casual is launching a Modern Greek Chicken Wrap this month, wrapping its most popular salad into a portable, handheld format. The Modern Greek takes the salad—composed of grilled chicken, tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, olives, feta cheese, sliced pepperoncini, house vinaigrette and a crunchy cabbage and kale mix—and uses it as a filling for a new multigrain lavash. Guests can make the wrap vegetarian by substituting falafel for chicken.
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Casual dining chain Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar is adding a new selection to its line of seven scratchmade TV dinners launched last year. BBQ Bison Meatloaf features grass-raised bison cooked with smoked bacon and sided by red skin potato mash, sauteed spinach, haystack onions and a chocolate peanut butter cup brownie for dessert. The fully-cooked frozen dinners come in compartmentalized foil trays in the style of the TV dinners popularized in the 1950s. Customers store the meals in the freezer until they’re ready to pop in the oven to heat and serve.
Cauliflower wings are the newest addition to the menu at Donatos. The veggie wings are made of roasted cauliflower florets, and are available with a choice of four different rubs and three sauces. The chain already offers bone-in and boneless chicken wings as well as a cauliflower crust option on its pizzas.
The Everything Hook & Ladder sub is the latest menu launch at Firehouse Subs. The new sandwich layers the filling from Firehouse’s top-selling Hook & Ladder sub—smoked turkey breast, honey ham, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard—on a roll baked with a topping of everything bagel seasoning. The seasoning is a blend of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, onion and salt. The sandwich is a move to offer customers breakfast-inspired flavors all day long, according to Firehouse.
Pita Mediterranean Street Food
Soup is in the spotlight at Pita Mediterranean Street Food. Tomato Florentine Soup is the winter warmer for January, and guests can order it as a bowl with pita bread for $5.95 or pair it with a salad for $8.95. From Jan. 21-Jan.31, the restaurants are offering a free soup as a side option with the purchase of a pita or platter. It’s available on all pickup and delivery orders too.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Valentine’s Day is in the works at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. The full-service chain is offering a four-course V-Day dinner for two for $50, featuring a shareable appetizer of Mozzarella Marinara or Tomato Caprese with Fresh Burrata, a second course of soup or salad, several entree options, including Fettucine Carrabba, Chicken Marsala or Tuscan-Grilled Sirloin and a chocolatey dessert of a rich fudge brownie with chocolate mousse and chocolate sauce. It’s available from Feb. 9-Feb. 15.
Golden Chick is looking even further ahead to Lent, which begins on Feb. 17. The chicken concept is going meatless with a new beer-battered Alaska cod that will be part of three limited-time items. The fish is hand-battered and layered with tartar sauce, pickles and cole slaw on a brioche bun ($4.99). It’s also available as a full meal with a side and drink for $7.99 and as a combo with three battered-and-fried butterfly shrimp, two sides, a house-baked roll, sauces and a drink for $8.99.