February has begun, and even though the groundhog predicted an early spring this year, there are many chilly, gray days ahead in much of the country. Restaurants are doing their part to warm up winter-weary consumers with new menu items to sip and savor. Here’s a roundup, from breakfast to lunch, dinner, snacks and cocktails.
Just Salad introduced The Breakfast Salad, available until Feb. 27. The fast casual teamed up with Grub Street, New York Magazine’s food blog, to create the item. It’s referred to as “lunch of champions” and contains romaine, baby spinach, turkey bacon, hard-boiled egg, sharp white cheddar, grape tomatoes and scallions, tossed with buttermilk ranch dressing.
Bob Evans is offering up a meaty new breakfast dish: The Whole Hog. The plate is piled high with two strips of bacon, two sausage patties, two sausage links, a slice of hickory-smoked ham and two eggs, cooked to order. That adds up to 80 grams of protein per serving. Customers get their carbs too—a hotcake, slice of brioche French toast and choice of home fries or hash browns are included in the breakfast.
Chick N Max
Chick N Max is going the healthy route with the new Power Bowl. The chain’s signature almond-smoked chicken is the star, surrounded by five-grain quinoa, corn salsa, avocado, smoked white beans, shredded cheddar and cucumber on a bed of mixed greens. The same smoked chicken shows up in the Southwest Sandwich, layered with avocado, corn salsa, lettuce, tomatoes and barbecue ranch sauce on a brioche bun.
Lunch options are debuting at Papa John’s for the first time. The chain’s new Papadia, available in four variations, is inspired by the piadina, a folded flatbread sandwich with Italian roots. Papa John’s version features the chain’s original pizza crust enclosing different fillings: Italian (Alfredo sauce, sausage, salami, cheese and banana peppers); Grilled BBQ Chicken and Bacon (grilled chicken, bacon, onions, cheese and barbecue sauce); Philly Cheesesteak (steak, onions, green peppers cheese and a Philly sauce); and Meatball Pepperoni (meatballs, pepperoni, pizza sauce, cheese and Italian seasoning).
Pizzas are also trending on menus this month. Cicis is offering guests the option of a garlic Parmesan pizza crust for a limited time. Guests can sample the crust on Cicis’ Pepperoni Pizza and Alfredo Pizza, or order up their favorite pizza with the new crust. Also happening on the crust front is Newks Eatery’s cauliflower pizza crust.It can be ordered with any of the fast casual’s pizzas for an upcharge of $2. The crust is part of Newk’s new year initiative, “Wholesome is the New Healthy.” And Pieology launched a protein-style chicken base as a traditional pizza crust alternative. It’s made with white meat chicken, eggs and cheese with a choice of sauce and toppings.
Sonic Drive-In is aiming to snag snackers this winter with the introduction of Totchos. The nachos-inspired snack features the chain’s signature tots layered with creamy cheese sauce, crispy bacon, diced onions and jalapenos, topped with a zesty baja sauce. The LTO runs through March 1.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill created a Menu for Two for lunch and dinner, available until March 1. Starters to share include Lobster Spinach Queso, Ranch Rings (panko-battered onions with roasted garlic ranch dressing) and Seared Ahi Tuna. Guests can choose from three entrees: Filet Mignon, Wood Grilled Salmon and Cilantro Grilled Chicken. Shareable desserts include Creme Brulee Cheesecake, Chocolate Brownie and Carrot Cake. The Menu for Two can be ordered for dine-in, carryout and delivery. In the restaurants, customers can order the seasonal Date Night cocktail made with blood orange elixir, elderflower liqueur and vodka, topped off with prosecco.
Hotels are busy at the bar, too, shaking up cocktails fit for the season. Hilton’s selection is crafted to warm up guests with hot or smoky combinations. Spiked Snow Day, served at Hilton Short Hills, features dark cocoa, Kahlua, Mexican chocolate cinnamon and chile-infused whipped cream, while the Jalisco Highway, served at Conrad New York Midtown, is a blend of tequila, Yucatan honey shrub, agave and smoked chile bitters. A Maple Spiced Manhattan and Smoked Apple Cider are on offer at New York Hilton Midtown, while Park City’s Waldorf Astoria is serving a Hot Mulled Wine cocktail.
Kimpton’s cocktaillineup is themed to Valentine’s Day in its hotel restaurants in the Midwest. Customers can enjoy the Be Mine, a combo of vodka, creme de cacao, fraises des bois and coconut milk served into a coup glass topped with a strawberry and chocolate shavings at Tre Rivali and The Outside rooftop in Milwaukee. Twitterpated is on the bar menu at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago; it has a gin base and a garnish of a Campari-infused cotton candy cloud. Also at Kimpton properties are the Outlaw Heart (Fisk & Co. Chicago) and Budding Rose (Vol. 39 Chicago).
Muscle Maker Grill
On the nonalcohohlic side, Muscle Maker Grill is launching a new shake of the month program, starting with February’s Chocolate Heart-Beet Shake. It’s made with fresh strawberries, cacao, beets and 20 grams of chocolate whey protein.