Restaurants squeeze in extra menu surprises as 2020 draws to a close
With 2021 quickly approaching, restaurants are hoping to end 2020 on a bang by luring customers with new menu items. Some are targeted to holiday dining, with Christmas and New Year’s themes, while others are designed to beat the winter chill. And some operators are counting on a renewed commitment by consumers to health and wellness as we turn the page on this pandemic year.
Black Bear Diner
Two desserts dressed in Christmas flavors are available at Black Bear Diner through Dec. 31. The Candy Cane Chocolate Cream Pie features a crust made of crushed candy canes and cream-filled cookies with a peppermint-chocolate cream pie filling and topping of whipped cream. Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake is topped with chocolate peppermint ganache and crushed candies. With orders of either dessert, Black Bear will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Another holiday-themed sweet are Krispy Kreme’s Gingerbread Glazed Doughnuts. The LTO is available in two variations: a traditional doughnut made with spiced gingerbread dough and covered with a warm gingerbread-molasses glaze and a Gingerbread Glazed Original Filled Cheesecake Doughnut, made with the same dough and glaze but filled with cheesecake cream.
Lettuce Entertain You
Two of Lettuce Entertain You’s Chicago concepts, Ema and Aba, are offering Mediterranean-style feasts for Christmas and New Year’s. Ema has a mezze platter to go, featuring specialties such as hummus, charred eggplant, labneh, green falafel and more, available for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Aba is offering a Mediterranean New Year’s Brunch at home. Included are seasonal berries, Muhammara with house bread, a Jerusalem Bagel with smoked salmon spread, short rib shakshuka and a strawberry drop biscuit with strawberry sumac chantilly creme. Customers can add in a mimosa or blueberry spritz kit for an extra fee.
Socarrat Paella Bar
A New Year’s Eve Spanish feast is on offer for takeout or delivery from Socarrat Paella Bar in New York City. The menu includes a choice of paella starring either truffled lamb chops or lobster, along with shareable tapas such as creamy mushroom croquettes, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Valdeon cheese, and the Campero Board, an assortment of chorizo, serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
The New Cheers Eve meal is Cooper’s Hawk menu package for couples on New Year’s Eve. The dinner for two includes White Truffle Bisque with brown butter and black truffle cream; Filet Medallions and Parmesan Crusted Lobster Tail with horseradish and Parmesan crusts; grilled broccolini and Mary’s potatoes; pretzel bread and butter; and Chocolate Raspberry Silk Pie with graham cracker crust. The to-go meal kit is $139.99 with a link to the Zoom demo included; wine pairings are available at an extra charge.
TGI Fridays is helping customers to say goodbye to 2020 with a celebratory promotion: the Cluck-It Bucket. The shareable entree for two, available online from Dec. 26-Jan. 12, contains boneless or bone-in chicken wings with a choice of sauce and fries. Fans of chicken tenders can opt for crispy chicken fingers with honey mustard and fries instead; both buckets are priced at $20.20. The LTO was created in response to a Fridays consumer survey. Among other negative thoughts regarding the past nine months, 47% of people found themselves saying “f*ck it, it’s 2020” at least daily or weekly when making decisions this year.
Hangover Krystal, a menu item that is marketed as a remedy to a night of overindulgence, is back at Krystal Restaurants on Dec. 28. The beef patty topped with cheese, onion, bacon and a fried egg on a steamed bun is available for $1.69 all day long from breakfast through lunch, dinner and late night. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, participating locations will be open 24 hours offering a meal of two Hangover Krystals with tots.
Noodles & Co.
Stuffed pastas are in test at 21 Noodles & Co. locations across Colorado, Illinois and Ohio. The two featured items, ravioli and tortelloni, are the first stuffed pastas the chain has offered. The tortelloni is filled with caramelized onions and ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, while the ravioli contains a blend of ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano and mozzarella cheeses with a touch of breadcrumbs. Noodles’ spicy tomato cream, pesto and other sauces are available to toss with the pastas.
Jinya Ramen Bar
Looking ahead beyond the New Year, Jinya Ramen Bar is launching new winter warmers, both on the menu until Feb. 28. Spicy Maze-Men is a bowl combining fresh garlic paste, pepper, nori, bonito flakes, onion, kimchee, pork chashu, egg yolk, pork oil and pork soup. A new Chef’s Special small plate features a soft shell crab, avocado, poke sauce and spicy mayo. A Salmon and Spicy Tuna Cone and Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna and Jalapeno Butter Corn join the permanent menu.
True Food Kitchen
New Year’s resolutions frequently involve a commitment to eat healthier, and True Food Kitchen aims to help customers fulfill that commitment. The casual-dining chain with a healthy focus is bringing back its Winter Immunity Bowl. The seasonal item is composed of lion’s mane mushrooms, farro, quinoa, carrots, broccolini, garbanzo beans, edamame, organic kale and garlic broth.