Restaurants debut globally inspired dishes.
Drive-thru restaurant chain Checkers & Rally’s has unveiled fry-seasoned chicken tenders. The new menu item features crispy white meat chicken coated in the brand’s signature French fry seasoning, which has a zesty taste, according to the company.
Church’s Chicken is offering Texas Tenders ‘n Butterfly Shrimp, a new meal pairing two white-meat chicken tenders with four large butterfly shrimp, which are breaded, marinated in buttermilk and seasoned with a Texas-inspired seasoning. The chain also is introducing a new dessert, banana pudding layered with Nilla Wafer cookies.
“Church's is dedicated to offering the next level of flavor in a sea of sameness, and these offerings are no exception,” said Claudia Lezcano, senior vice president, US marketing for Church’s Chicken. “We’re always looking for ways to continue bringing our guests past favorites as well as new menu offerings, all at a great price point.”
Noodles & Company is debuting two internationally inspired salads. The Asian apple citrus salad mixes Tuscan greens and kale with ginger citrus dressing, grilled chicken, diced apple, cucumber and a slaw made from broccoli, carrots and red cabbage, topped with avocado, crispy chow mein noodles and black sesame seeds. The Mexican street corn salad with chicken has Tuscan greens and kale tossed in cotija cheese dressing with grilled chicken, roasted corn and tomatoes, topped with avocado, feta, chipotle cheddar tortilla strips and cilantro.
“Noodles truly has something on the menu for everyone, and with the expansion of our salad options, we now have even more delicious options to meet our guests’ lifestyle and health goals,” said Nick Graff, vice president of culinary and executive chef at Noodles & Company. “While we have long been known for our noodles, our salads have gained a strong following over the years, and I think these two new options will have even more people discovering just how craveable veggies can be.”
A new street food-inspired menu at On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina includes tacos, tamales, elotes, quesadillas and margaritas. Mexican street corn has creamy roasted corn mixed with chiles, spices and lime, topped with lime crema, queso fresco and cilantro. Birria quesa tacos contain beef barbacoa, Mexican cheese, diced onion and cilantro in crispy flour tortillas, served alongside hot consommé for dipping. Chicken tomatillo tamales are topped with salsa verde, sour cream sauce or roasted red chile-tomatillo salsa.
“We took inspiration directly from ingredients and recipes found in the taquerias, street carts and local markets of Mexico,” said Edithann Ramey, chief marketing officer at On The Border. “This new seasonal special is big on flavors that our guests will love.”
Fast-casual concept Pei Wei Asian Kitchen is offering grilled bourbon chicken, wok-tossed in a sweet and savory sauce with hints of Cajun seasonings and served over steamed rice.
“Our new Grilled Bourbon Chicken is made to order using time honored artisan cooking methods,” said Enrique Pinon, director of culinary operations. “We are proud to serve this thoughtfully prepared dish that fuses Cajun and Asian influences in a craveable and savory sauce.”
A pair of seasonal sandwiches at Quiznos feature lobster. The Lobster Classic sub has a lobster and seafood salad mix with shredded lettuce on Italian white bread. The Old Bay Lobster Club sub features a lobster and seafood salad mix with Old Bay seasoning, bacon, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayonnaise on Italian white bread.
“We are thrilled to be bringing back these two sandwiches this year,” said Mike Gieseman, vice president of culinary innovation. “The delicious Lobster Classic and newer, but just as loved, Old Bay Lobster Club are some of our most popular seasonal treats, and we can’t wait for our guests to enjoy them again.”
Fast-casual sandwich shop Schlotzsky’s is introducing calzones. The barbecue chicken calzone includes sliced chicken, chopped bacon, shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, red onions and pickled jalapeños. The French dip calzone has savory roast beef, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese served with Au Jus dipped sauce. The Italian-inspired Fatone calzone, developed in partnership with former pop musician Joey Fatone, combines ham, genoa and cotto salami, pepperoni and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses paired with a marinara dipping sauce.
“At Schlotzsky’s, we begin each day by baking made from scratch buns, pizza dough and now calzone dough in the restaurants across the county,” said Jennifer Keil, executive chef at Schlotzsky’s. “Using the fresh ingredients and bold flavor combinations creates unique and craveable menu items, like our new calzones, that you can’t get anywhere else.”
TacoTime is serving a fish taco for a limited time. The item includes crispy white fish, shredded cheddar, cabbage and salsa fresca topped with a creamy cilantro lime sauce.
“Our customers spoke, and we listened,” said Kim Heath, senior director of marketing for Kahala Brands, parent company of TacoTime. “We are excited to bring back the ever-popular fish taco to our menu to start off the new year. Our Fish Tacos offer the perfect pairing of crispy fish and creamy cilantro lime sauce. These tacos continue to be a seasonal fan-favorite and are always welcomed back with a joyful response.”
New at The Counter is the serrano burger, with angus beef, red onion, cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses, bacon, serrano pepper and onion mix, served on a brioche bun garnished with a deep-fried serrano pepper and a side of serrano chili aioli.