Spring menu items that have been in development throughout the winter months are starting to launch at restaurants. Operators are also continuing to promote Lent and St. Patrick’s Day specials as the calendar flips to March this week.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
Several concepts in the Lettuce Entertain You portfolio are offering Friday Fish Fry specials through April 10 for customers going meatless for Lent. Both L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge in Lincolnwood, Ill., and Mity Nice Bar & Grill in Chicago are promoting a Wisconsin Fish Fry, which includes lake perch or walleye, salt and vinegar fries and housemade tartar sauce, while Quality Crab & Oyster Bah features a crispy Thai Chili Snapper. Lenten dishes at other LEYE restaurants include Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Tempura Maki, Baja Fish Tacos and a French Fried Shrimp Basket.
Cotton Patch Cafe
Cotton Patch Cafe is alsooffering All You Can Eat Catfish Fridays through April 10, with unlimited fish, fries, rolls and a soft drink for $15.99. Going beyond Lent, the Southern-style chain is launching a seasonal menu that includes a Chipotle Maple Chicken, Pecan Crusted Catfish, Honey BBQ Salmon, a Chicken Fried Duo (steak and chicken with jalapeno or cream gravy) and a Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich.
Irish-inspired Bennigan’s is going all in for St. Patrick’s Day, with a roster of themed dishes and drinks. The menu, which runs until April 6, includes Reuben Fritters and Paddy’s Famous Poutine Pub Fries, billed as the Irish version of poutine, as starters. On the entree side, a Reuben Burger features a topping of chopped corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing, while Paddy’s Grilled Chicken & Shrimp are finished with an Irish Whiskey Glaze. The cocktail list spotlights the Celtic Peach Breeze (bourbon, peach puree, Red Bull and lemon-lime soda) and the Irish Rainbow (Irish whiskey, melon liqueur, blue curacao, lemon sour, passion fruit puree and grenadine.)
Buffalo Wings & Rings
Lent options are plentiful at Buffalo Wings & Rings through April 10. On offer are Parmesan Garlic Aioli Fries, Pretzel Bites with queso, a Veggie Quesadilla, Korean Shrimp with gochujang sauce, Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad and an Old Bay Fried Shrimp Basket.
Fast-casual Tijuana Flats is making waves with a new look and new menu. Two starters join the lineup—Chicken Tortilla Soup and Loaded Guac—along with a bold new signature flavor: chicken tinga. The tinga ingredient incorporates shredded chicken, sauteed onions and spicy chipotle sauce as an option for tacos, burritos and chimichangas.
El Pollo Loco
Plant-based chicken is the newest ingredient to come to El Pollo Loco’s menu. An LTO of Mix & Match Street Tacos covers seven options, including the Chickenless Pollo Taco. The meat-free item is made with a plant-based protein that’s simmered in a sauce of fire-roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes, then topped with queso fresco, lettuce and avocado and wrapped in the chain’s new corn and flour artisan tortilla. Another choice is a keto-friendly taco featuring a keto-approved tortilla and grilled chicken filling, along with more traditional shrimp and chicken tacos.
Family Meals are the latest addition to Cowboy Chicken’s menu, created to help get dinner on the table in a hurry. Takeout dishes include the Homestyle Family Meal, composed of a wood-fired rotisserie chicken, twice-baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans and rolls, and a Southwest Family Meal, focused on the same chicken prep with sides of Mexican street corn, rice, ranchero beans and chips and salsa.
Old Bay hot sauce, a Maryland product, is the inspiration for four new menu items from Maryland-based Ledo Pizza. The limited-edition hot sauce flavors the chain’s signature jumbo wings, the Marylander Salad (boneless wings tossed in the sauce and served over greens with grape tomatoes, smoked provolone, bacon and red onions), a hot chicken pizza and the Chesapeake Sub (chicken smothered in Old Bay hot sauce on a toasted sub roll with hot mayo and sliced pickles.)
The Melting Pot
Starting March 5, The Melting Pot will make every Thursday night a “Thursdate” for couples dining out for “date night.” A special four-course dinner will begin with cheese fondue, followed by a salad course and entree, such as filet mignon salmon or teriyaki sirloin. For dessert, there is Sparkling Chocolate Fondue. The romantic package also includes a table for two decorated with rose petals and candles.