Zoës Kitchen has expanded its menu with a new appetizer, proteins, sandwiches, sauces and bowls, a new category for the chain, in its largest rollout in eight years.
CEO Kevin Miles said the new items leverage the talent of corporate chef Antonio Iocchi, who joined the 224-unit chain almost two years ago and has been building a pipeline of new dishes featuring flavors from all the countries of the Mediterranean.
“We feel [the new items] give the consumer the taste of the Mediterranean without having to go to the Mediterranean, and are really representing these countries,” Miles said.
The new items offer a variety of spicy and tangy flavors, while also allowing for lighter, vegetarian and gluten-free options, he said. The bowls start at 270 calories without added chicken, lamb or salmon.
“You don’t feel like you’re suffering from the flavor side of what you’re eating,” Miles said.
This is Zoës Kitchen’s “big rollout for the year,” he said, but new items will be added and removed next year as the chain continues to rotate around the countries of the Mediterranean.
Adding new menu items has also helped increase guest visits, Miles said.
“Our customers crave new flavors,” he said.
The new sauces are inspired by four of the 21 Mediterranean countries Zoës Kitchen strives to represent:
• Greek tzatziki: Yogurt with onions, cucumbers, garlic, mint and dill
• Italian salsa verde: Herbs, Calabrian peppers, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar
• Israeli skhug: A mildly spicy sauce of peppers, citrus, cilantro, lemon, olive oil and spices, such as cardamom, cumin and caraway
• Moroccan harissa: A red pepper sauce with tomatoes and spices, including cardamom, cumin and caraway
All of the sauces are gluten free, and all except the tzatziki are vegan.
Two of the sauces and a new protein are combined in the chain’s new appetizer, Mediterranean Lamb Kafta, which is comprised of three beef-and-lamb meatballs over tzatziki and cucumbers, topped with harissa and dill, and priced at around $5.99, depending on the location.
Three new pita sandwiches have been introduced:
• Harissa Salmon Pita: Pita topped with harissa-marinated salmon, tzatziki, harissa, Mediterranean relish (tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, mint, parsley and lemon juice), cabbage, feta and dill, priced at around $10.59
• Rustic Lamb Pita: Pita topped with lamb kafta, tzatziki, salsa verde, Mediterranean relish, cabbage, feta and dill, priced at around $9.89
• Greek Chicken Pita: Pita topped with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, tzatziki, caramelized onions and feta, priced at around $8.29
For the new bowls, guests can choose Lamb Kafta, Harissa Salmon or Mediterranean Chicken over one of the following bases, which are priced at $9.89 to $12.59, depending on the protein added:
• Cauliflower Rice Bowl: Riced cauliflower with tzatziki, skhug, feta, cucumbers and dill
• Power Grain Bowl: Lentils, quinoa, farro and rice with tzatziki, harissa, Mediterranean relish, cucumbers and dill
• Mediterranean Salad Trio Bowl: Pesto farro, quinoa and orzo tabbouleh with tzatziki, salsa verde, feta, cucumbers and dill.
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