Chefs and R&D teams are launching new menu items at a fast clip. Here’s a roundup of the most recent introductions and menu news.
The fast-casual salad concept debuted a kids menu called Chopt Jr. It features signature kids customizable salads and warm bowls, in addition to Chopt Dippers, which are served with a choice of two dressings and are available in three varieties: QuesaDippers, a quesadilla; Panko-Crusted Chicken Dippers; and seasonally available ChoptSticks skewers of protein and vegetable combinations. The menu is debuting in Charlotte, N.C., and will continue to roll out to additional locations through 2020.
Noodles & Co.
Fast casual Noodles is tapping into the success of zoodles—aka zucchini noodles—with its latest veggie noodle introduction: “caulifloodles.” The cauliflower-infused noodles are a permanent addition to the menu and can be substituted in any dish at no additional cost. Caulifloodles are also being featured in two limited-time seasonal dishes: Cauliflower Rigatoni in Light Onion Cream Sauce with roasted zucchini, mushrooms and spinach, finished with MontAmore cheese and parsley, and Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca with Shrimp, sauteed with balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil and roasted garlic, mixed with red onion, tomato and spinach and topped with Parmesan cheese.
Panera Bread expanded its grain bowl selection with two new warm options. The Baja Grain Bowl is made with cilantro-lime long-grain brown rice, a mix of red and golden quinoa, grilled citrus pepper chicken, black bean and corn salsa, housemade salsa verde, red grape tomatoes, avocado, feta crumbles and whole-milk Greek yogurt. The Mediterranean Grain Bowl features cilantro-lime long-grain brown rice, a mix of red and golden quinoa, arugula, grilled citrus pepper chicken, red grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, diced cucumbers, hummus, lemon tahini dressing, feta crumbles and whole-milk Greek yogurt with a squeeze of lemon.
Fogo de Chao
Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao introduced a new fall menu featuring these seasonal items:
• Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup: roasted butternut squash blended with sweet potatoes and winter spices.
• Pear & Endive Salad: seasonal pears, red and gold endive, blue cheese and candied bacon mixed with pear vinaigrette.
• Butternut Kale Salad: roasted butternut squash, kale, chickpeas and feta tossed with honey citrus vinaigrette and topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
• New York Strip: lightly seasoned with rock salt and fire-roasted on the churrasco grill.
• Roasted Sweet Potatoes: oven-roasted and miso-glazed sweet potatoes with chopped parsley.
Plant-based chicken is not the only unique item to come out of KFC recently. The QSR is testing a doughnut and fried chicken sandwich, composed of a piece of boneless fried chicken between two glazed doughnuts, and a fried chicken and doughnut basket meal, featuring chicken on the bone or chicken tenders paired with one or two doughnuts.