Sweetheart deals at IHOP, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin'

Taste Tracker: Sonic and Bad Daddy’s choose pork; things get cheesier at Noodles; BurgerFi adds a movie-inspired burger; and menus get dressed in hearts for Valentine’s Day.
Photos courtesy of the brands

As February kicks off, heart shapes and romantic dinner specials begin to flood menus. But operators are also looking beyond Valentine’s Day to add new menu items and launch LTOs.

IHOP introduced a new Pancake of the Month platform, starting with February’s selection: Chocolate Strawberry. Guests can order the item as a stack, side or part of a pancake combo. Throughout 2024, the chain will launch a different pancake LTO on the first of every month.

Heart-shaped trays are back at Chick-fil-A for those who want to give the gift of chicken nuggets, fudge brownie halves or chocolate chunk cookies to their special Valentine. Breakfast lovers also have the choice of 10 Chick-n-Minis in a heart-shaped tray. And there are heart-shaped pizzas a plenty at Lou Malnati’s, Hungry Howie’s and Mountain Mike’s.

For those who prefer sweets for their sweet, Dunkin’ has heart-shaped donuts in flavors including Brownie Batter and Cupid’s Choice; the latter filled with Bavarian cream and topped with strawberry-flavored icing and sprinkles. Heart-shaped hand pies in cherry, apple and boysenberry varieties are on offer at Polly’s Pies. And Baskin-Robbins has a heart-shaped Crazy for You Cake covered in fudgy icing and personalized with any flavor cake and ice cream. Baskin-Robbins’ flavor of the month is Love Potion #31, a combo of white chocolate and raspberry dotted with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts.

Dining-out customers can look forward to romantic Italian dinners for couples at Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Carrabba’s is offering a four-course dinner for two for $65 with a shared appetizer and dessert, plus soup or salad and entrée. Main course choices include Tuscan-grilled filet, chicken Parmesan or marsala, salmon or pasta. Maggiano’s has a three-course dinner for two called “That’s Amore;” it goes for $99. Specialties include calamari, salmon with crispy Calabrian shrimp, signature rigatoni and tiramisu.

But it’s not all hearts and flowers this week. Noodles & Company developed a cheesier version of its best-selling Wisconsin Mac & Cheese; every bowl now boasts 50% more cheese for the same price. The fast casual is also continuing the expansion of its stuffed pastas with the debut of Chicken Prosciutto Tortelloni with Smoked Gouda.

Pulled pork is the featured ingredient at Sonic Drive-In, showing up in three new items. The Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger is topped with smoked pulled pork and cherrywood smoke sauce; Pulled Pork Totchos layer pulled pork on tots with cheese sauce and melted cheddar; and the Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich is served with pickles and sauce in a brioche bun.  

Bacon is in the spotlight at Bad Daddy’s. Bacon Hummus is a blend of house-made hummus with applewood and jalapeno bacon, topped with homemade bacon jam. Joining it on the winter menu are Daddy’s Chili and the Cowboy Crunch Burger topped with chili and corn chips. Two cocktails, a mocktail and a cherry chocolate shake are also new.

BurgerFi’s new Yes, Chef Burger is a takeoff of the simple but perfect burger created in the movie “The Menu.” This version is a build oftwo Angus beef patties hand-smashed with chargrilled onions and melted American cheese.

The beverage category is rocking at Haagen-DazsShops, with real fruit smoothies in six flavors available through March 31. The collection includes Aloha Mango, Strawberry Banana, Wildberry, Pomegranate, Berry and Strawberry Mango. And Smoothie King debuted a Sleepy Girlzzz Smoothie inspired by the Sleepy Girl Mocktail trending on social media. The main ingredient is tart cherry juice, a natural source of melatonin that’s believed to aid sleep. The juice is blended with dairy whey, bananas, pear passion fruit juice blend and turbinado sugar.

To get up close and personal with February's menu launches, watch the video:


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