After the Thanksgiving rush to put together dinner packages to go, restaurants are now expanding their menus with new offerings. Food and drink items with a seasonal spin are making waves, as are global flavors in familiar formats. These are some of the most recent menu launches.
Chicken Tortilla Soup, a fan favorite at Chick-fil-A, is returningfor the season. The hearty soup features shredded chicken breast and navy and black beans in a creamy white base with a blend of vegetables and spices. A shake with holiday flavors is also coming back to Chick-fil-A for a limited time. The Peppermint Chip Milkshake is a blend of the QSR’s signature frozen dairy dessert with chips of peppermint bark topped off with whipped cream and a cherry.
Mellow Mushroom, the chain that melds pizza with art, held a Home-Grown Challenge among employees to dream up new items that would appeal to consumers. The result is a new Cuban-themed pizza and hoagie, both available during the holiday season. The Wild in Havana Pie is topped with jerk pork ham, salami, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses, diced pickles and a mayo-mustard drizzle—kind of a deconstructed Cuban sandwich. The Havana Hoagie is inspired by a pressed Cuban sandwich and is composed of grilled pork, ham and pickle slices topped with melted Swiss and a generous smear of mustard.
Also new to Mellow Mushroom’s menu are a BBQ pork pizza and a couple of munchies geared to snacking and/or sharing—Teriyaki Wings and Avocado Smash. The latter is a blend of seasoned, mashed avocado paired with fresh bruschetta made from diced Roma tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh basil and served with toast points.
Truffles are coming to the menu at Shake Shack in five limited-edition items available only in select locations in New York City and Los Angeles. The burger chain collaborated with Regalis Foods, an importer of truffles from all over the world, to create the truffle-focused menu. It includes a Black Truffle Burger, Black Truffle ‘Shroom Burger and Black Truffle Shack Stack, all topped with black truffle sauce and various cheeses. The elevated burgers are selling at prices higher than Shake Shack’s standard burgers—$8.89 to $11.89—and customers can also order a side of black truffle sauce for $1.50.
Nekter Juice Bar
Elderberry is splashing down at Nekter Juice Bar in two limited-time offers available through the end of December. The Elderberry Smoothie features Nekter’s housemade nutmillk, elderberry powder, strawberries, blueberries and acerola with a touch of agave for sweetening. The Elderberry Fresh Shot is a mix of elderberry, ginger and apple. Elderberry is believed to have anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting powers and is often classified as a superfood. Nekter is counting on its appeal to pandemic-weary consumers.
Health-driven LemonadeRestaurant updated its Purple Kale & Seasonal Fruit Salad with ingredients including green apples, red beets and a plum vinaigrette to boost its nutritive powers and seasonality. Additionally, the fast casual debuted a new protein choice—grass-fed steak prepared sous vide-style. The flank steak is flavored with rosemary and garlic and paired with red pepper chimichurri; it’s an option for an upcharge of $2.95 in any protein bowl. Customers can also order the beef in a Chimichurri Steak Sandwich layered with manchego cheese, basil pesto aioli, pickled onion, tomato and arugula on ciabatta.
Also new to Lemonade’s winter menu is a Yellow Curry Meatball Bowl. It’s a combo of yellow curry chicken meatballs, purple kale and carrot salad, honey-roasted Brussels sprouts, red jalapeno and herb brown rice.
P.F. Chang’s is taking beef in a Korean direction, spotlighting the winner of its Freestyle Lettuce Wraps Contest on the menu. The Korean Beef Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap, submitted by home chef Tim Itano, features sizzling flank steak, onions, shiitake mushrooms and bulgogi sauce. It’s available for a limited time, along with the chain’s seasonal offerings: Miso Butter Lobster Dumplings, the Dynamite Roll (tempura-battered shrimp atop a California roll drizzled with Sriracha aioli and umami sauce) and the Rising Dragon Cocktail.
And Applebee’s is getting into the holiday spirit with two celebratory $5 cocktails. The Sleigh Bell Sips collection includes the Berry Merry Colada, made with spiced rum and melon liqueur, and the Reindeer Punch, a blend of vodka, cranberry juice, sweet-and-sour mix and cherry.