Restaurants lost out on lucrative Mother’s Day dine-in business last year, as the holiday fell during a peak COVID quarantine month. Although many operators transitioned to celebratory meals and kits to go, this year they are revving up to welcome back diners with special menus and promotions . And customers are eager to return. Mother’s Day reservations are up 64% compared to 2019, according to data from OpenTable.
Mother’s Day is not the only event happening in May—it’s also National Salad Month and International Mediterranean Diet Month. Themed items are showing up as salads, sandwiches and snacks, but desserts are also trending big on menus.
A menu filled with new homestyle favorites is designed to lure families to Cracker Barrel for Mother’s Day. Included in the lineup are Hand-breaded Fried Chicken Tenders with dill pickle ranch sauce; Sweet n’ Smoky Glazed Tenders fried and tossed with maple bacon glaze; and Barrel Bites, a shareable dish of Loaded Hashbrown Casserole Tots or Biscuit Beignets (deep-fried biscuit dough tossed in cinnamon sugar with butter pecan sauce for dipping). New beverages are also on offer, including Fruit Stand Tea (iced tea infused with peach, apricot and dark cherry flavors) and Buttercrunch Caramel Latte.
For those who prefer a carryout meal, Cracker Barrel has Mother’s Day Family Meal Baskets of pancakes or homestyle chicken.
Carrabbas Italian Grill
Carrabbas Italian Grill is also offering both dine-in and to-go service on Mother’s Day specials, starting Tuesday and running through Sunday. Featured entrees include Salmon Saporito (wood-grilled and topped with crab, lemon butter, diced tomatoes, spinach and basil); Chicken Bryan (wood-grilled and topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and lemon butter); and Mezzaluna (half-moon ravioli stuffed with chicken, cheeses and spinach in tomato cream). Celebratory cocktails such as Peach Sangria, Tuscan Lemonade and Seven Daughters’ Moscato are also available, and for dessert, there’s tiramisu and a “Chocolate Dream.”
On the quick-service side, Tim Horton’s is surprising moms with a Donut Disguise Box. Six donuts are packed inside a box that looks like a book, with a title of either “Glazed Expectations” or “Twenty Thousand Timbits Under the Sea.” The goal is to “ensure kids stay clear of Mom’s sweet treats,” the chain stated in the announcement. The Donut Disguise boxes are available Saturday and Sunday with the purchase of a six-pack of donuts at the regular price of $5.49, but only at select locations in the Buffalo, Detroit and Columbus, Ohio metro area.
Hard Rock Cafe
From Thursday through Sunday, Hard Rock Cafe is treating moms to limited-time offers tied to the holiday. The Mother’s Day specials include Lobster Flatbread, Lobster Cobb Salad, Herb Grilled Chicken and a Strawberry Shortcake Sundae. On the drinks side, participating locations are offering a “Momosa Bar,” giving diners a chance to create their own mimosas with a flight of juices and a bottle of Prosecco.
To catch the early crowd, Ocean Prime locations will be open for brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, and will continue serving dinner from 3 p.m.-8 p.m. for both dine-in guests and carryout. The brunch menu includes a choice of Lobster Toast, Blackened Salmon Salad, French Toast, Crab & eggs or Braised Short Rib Surf & Turf, as well as mimosas or bloody Marys; entree prices range from $15 to $24. Dinners to go for four to six diners include a main course of rack of lamb or roasted salmon with sides, along with an Ocean Prime House Salad 10-layer carrot cake.
From Friday to Sunday over Mother’s Day weekend, Logan’s Roadhouse is tempting moms with two meaty options. There’s a 12-ounce Prime Rib dinner hand-carved to order and Momma’s Surf & Turf, featuring a filet served on mashed potatoes topped with creamy spinach sauce and blackened grilled shrimp. The chain will also start service earlier, opening its doors at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and the first 50 moms to dine in will get a free koozie.
An exclusive heat-and-serve meal kit has been created by Cooper’s Hawk’s for families celebrating Mother’s Day at home. Included in the $159.99 package, which serves four, are eight Parmesan-Crusted Filet Medallions, a choice of second protein (pistachio-crusted grouper, barbecue pork or Parmesan-crusted chicken), Mary’s Potatoes, Garlic Green Beans, Mother’s Day Salad, pretzel bread and Lemon Butter Cake.
Strawberries are the focus of Bob Evans’ menu, launched with Mother’s Day in mind. May is also National Strawberry Month, so the family-dining chain is featuring the fresh berries in a number of new items at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are Fresh Berry Hotcakes, Fresh Berry French Toast, Strawberry Banana Oatmeal, a Summer Berry Salad and a Chicken Salad Fruit Plate. The strawberries are sourced from family farms, then de-stemmed and sliced to order in the restaurants’ kitchens.
Brunch is the featured Mother’s Day meal at Metro Diner, with a quartet of savory dishes on hand. Starting Thursday and running until Sunday are Crab Cake Benedict; Italian Meat Lover’s Burrito Press stuffed with eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, hash browns and mozzarella; Southwestern Burrito Press with eggs, black beans, hash browns corn, peppers, onions and tomatoes; and Sticky Chicken & Waffle with fried chicken on a savory waffle served with signature sweet and spicy syrup. All are available for dine-in, curbside carryout and delivery customers.
TGI Fridays is changing up the traditional Mother’s Day celebration with a promotion to give mom a night out with her friends. All this week, moms are invited to come in and treat themselves to half-priced bottles of wine, a Sparkling Strawberry Henny Cocktail and the new Carlo’s Cookies & Cream Tsunami Cake created by Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro. According to a survey by TGI Fridays, 70% of moms want a day to themselves as a Mother’s Day gift.
BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse
Dessert is also front and center for BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse. The Pizookie—the casual-dining chain’s signature oversized soft cookie—is available for a limited time packed with M&M candies. The first new variation in over the year, BJ’s Monster Pizookie was created in collaboration with M&Ms Minis and features a gooey warm cookie filled with peanut butter, oats, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and mini M&Ms, topped with rich vanilla ice cream.
La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe
New seasonal items are now on the menu at La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe with desserts playing a starring role here as well. On the savory side is a Strawberry, Almond and Goat Cheese Salad, but four other introductions are geared to the sweet tooth. The lineup includes an individual Berries & Cream Cheesecake topped with strawberries and blueberries; a Mini Liberte Tart topped with glazed raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream; a Lemon White Chocolate Chunk Cookie with a lemon glaze; and a Lemon Blueberry Danish drizzled with icing.
Starbucks Reserve locations in Chicago, New York and Seattle are serving up two new iced Espresso Dolce drinks with layers of espresso, fruit puree and sweet cream. The Mandarin Espresso Dolce features mandarin and tangerine puree, fior di latte and espresso over ice, while the Passionfruit Pomegranate layers blood orange, passionfruit and pomegranate puree with the espresso and fior di latte. Seasonal additions on the cocktail side are the Blush Mint Julep made with jade citrus mint tea and the Pineapple Rum Float with an espresso base.
Pizza chain Mountain Mike’s is taking a detour to the sweet side with the debut of Mini Churrs. The bite-size cinnamon-and-sugar churros are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and are menued to be shareable. They come 16 pieces to an order for $4.99. Mini Churrs will be available through June 30.
For customers who want to balance all those desserts with salad, May is National Salad Month. The month-long event prompted build-your-own chain Salata to introduce five curated salads and two new wraps. In the salad category are Jalapeno Avocado Salad with jicama, black beans, corn, cilantro, feta, jalapenos and house-made jalapeno-avocado dressing and Harvest Salad with grapes, cranberries, feta, walnuts, apples, pesto chicken and balsamic vinaigrette. Rounding out the roster are Greek Chicken Salad, Cobb Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad. The two wraps include a Southwest Wrap with chipotle chicken and a vegetarian Mediterranean Wrap with falafel and veggies in a cucumber tortilla.
May also seems to be International Mediterranean Diet Month, and Yalla Mediterranean is getting on board with three new hummus variations. There’s Spicy Red Pepper Harissa Hummus, Chermoula Hummus with a kick of lemon and Mediterranean seasonings, and Beet Hummus sporting an eye-catching pink color. All are available past the month of May, running until Aug. 31, and can be ordered to complement a bowl, wrap or salad.
The Taco of the Month for May at Torchy’s Tacos is the Tokyo Drifter. It features teriyaki glazed pulled pork, fried wonton strips, sweet and sour veggie slaw, sesame-Sriracha mayonnaise and cilantro served on a flour tortilla with a lime wedge. Guests can pair the Asian-inspired taco with the Raspberry Meltdown, May’s featured margarita. Portions of the proceeds from Taco of the Month sales go to the chain’s charitable partners, including Make a Wish Foundation, MD Anderson and Phoenix House.