LENEXA, Kan. – Applebee's is rolling out its “Stacked Stuffed & Topped” entrées. The new items pair sirloin, chicken, pasta and salad with ingredients including mozzarella scoops, fresh roasted vegetables and bruschetta.

"Steaks and pastas are our best-selling items so we know guests love them," said Chef Shannon Johnson, executive director -- culinary innovation and development. "We are taking these tried and true favorites and literally stacking, stuffing and topping them with new flavors."

Although today's diners want to try new foods, they are skeptical at spending their money on something they might not like. Sixty-six percent of consumers report they enjoy trying new flavors from time to time while 20 percent said they prefer to stick to tried-and-true options, Technomic's Flavor Consumer Trend Report.

Applebee's culinary team experimented with dozens of concepts before choosing the following Stacked Stuffed & Topped dishes, all of which scored well among focus groups:

  • Florentine Topped House Sirloin — Classic 7 oz. signature sirloin grilled to order with roasted red peppers, sliced mushrooms, onion, fresh spinach and bruschetta, topped with garlic and herbs and served over fried red potatoes; a 9 oz. signature sirloin is also available.
  • Chicken Parmesan Stack — Country-fried chicken stuffed with Italian cheeses, topped with Applebee's spicy marinara and served atop fettuccine with roasted garlic Alfredo, onions and peppers, topped with parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese and served with toasted garlic bread.
  • Bruschetta Topped Chicken Salad — Grilled chicken breast and fried mozzarella scoops served on romaine tossed with champagne vinaigrette and topped with tomatoes, red onions, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, basil and garlic, Asiago cheese and finished with a balsamic glaze.
  • Applebee's Stuffed Meatballs & Mozzarella Scoops feature two meatballs paired up with scoops of fried mozzarella, topped with zesty marinara, parsley and Parmesan cheese.

"We're putting excitement back into the casual dining experience and being almost irreverent in our approach," said Johnson. "People thought we were nuts when we took a perfectly good meatball and stuffed it with Provolone but our guests have eaten 30 million of those meatballs in less than a year, so we're definitely onto something."

Applebee's calls itself the world's largest casual dining chain, operating approximately 2,000 locations in 49 states, 15 countries and one US territory.