The last time a total solar eclipse darkened the continental United States was 38 years ago, but on Aug. 21, even some Americans not in the path of totality will be treated to a partial eclipse. Total or partial, the eclipse lasts for only a few minutes, but the hoopla surrounding the event promises to go on a bit longer. Before and after the skies darken, restaurants are lighting up with special menu items and deals—most of which are available for several hours or days. Here are 12 surprises in store for eclipse viewers seeking food and drink.
1. A dark doughnut to start the day
Those waking up early in Oregon on Monday to catch the event can stop by Krispy Kreme for a chocolatey eclipse doughnut. For the first time, the chain’s original glazed doughnut will be “eclipsed” by chocolate glaze, according to the promo. While the doughnut will officially launch on Aug. 21, chocoholics can purchase it ahead of time during Krispy Kreme’s Hot Light hours on Aug. 19 and 20.
2. Pancakes flip to the theme
Denny’s is celebrating the eclipse by advertising all-you-can-eat “Mooncakes” for $4. The moon-shaped buttermilk pancakes will be available only on August 21, but if customers don’t have a chance to stop by, no worries—they look a lot like Denny’s regular flapjacks, which are around any day of the year in unlimited stacks for $4.
3. Pie in the sky
Nashville is one of the cities close to the path of totality, and the Rock Bottom Brewery location there is not letting the opportunity slip by. On Monday, the restaurant is serving up Big Night Pie—a four-cheese phyllo pizza filled with zucchini, black olive quinoa caviar, eggplant raisin sauce, smoked red bell pepper sauce, arugula and caper garlic vinaigrette.
4. Black magic
Two ice cream concepts in Portland, Ore.—Salt & Straw and Wiz Bang Bar—are offering an Eclipse Magic Cone to commemorate the solar spectacle. The cool treat features turmeric ice cream with marshmallow fluff, topped with a cocoa-black sesame shell and charcoal-dusted pop rocks. Holding the creation is a burnt coconut ash waffle cone, painted with edible gold. Black is already trending as a color for ice cream this season, and this cone takes it over the top.
6. Cupcakes with a celestial spin
Sprinkles Cupcakes is also bringing back a favorite in honor of the eclipse. The Black Velvet Cupcake, a combo of dark cocoa, dark chocolate and chocolate ganache, will be available for $3.95 from Aug. 19 to 21 at the concept’s stores and Sprinkles’ cupcake ATM.
7. Raise a celebratory glass
For those who want to celebrate the event with something a little stronger, two operators are stirring and shaking up themed cocktails. Tony Roma’s Tropical Eclipse Romatini is a mix of coconut rum, passion fruit liqueur, pineapple juice and crushed pineapple. And Tailgate Brewery in Nashville is serving a Total Eclipse of the Tart—a special-edition apricot sour.
8. Field of dreams
Kansas City is another city in prime viewing territory, and Green Dirt Farm in nearby Weston, Mo., is holding a feast on Aug. 21 in conjunction with chef Howard Hanna of The Rieger restaurant. Called Black Sheep in the Shadow—A Total Eclipse of the Farm, the event begins at 10:30 a.m. and features whole roasted pig and lamb, spirits from a local distillery, live music and circus-style performances. Tickets are $85 each.
9. Picnic in the shadows
Takeout is also an option in some sections in the path of totality. Caviar & Bananas in Nashville is putting together $25 eclipse special packs for picnickers. Each package feeds one and includes a sandwich or salad, one side, a black and white cookie, eclipse glasses, a glow straw and a 22-ounce glow-in-the-dark cup. Drinks are extra.
11. Last-minute eclipse accessories
The special glasses needed to view the eclipse safely are in short supply. But customers can get a free pair at Shoney's, along with a MoonPie, with the purchase of a meal while supplies last on Monday.
The glasses and MoonPie—a double-decker chocolate version—can also be purchased seperately as a Eclipse Survival Kit for $3.
12. Dairy Queen's BOGO eclipse deal
There's no obvious connection between Dairy Queen's celebratory Blizzard offer and Monday's historic eclipse, but that's the point, says the quick-service chain. “We love any excuse to celebrate with our fans,” said Maria Hokanson, EVP of marketing for the franchisor, in a release.
Beginning Aug. 21, patrons can buy a Blizzard, DQ's signature frozen treat, for 99 cents and get a second Blizzard for free.