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Best of Menu Tracker: The most creative, trend-forward, appealing and even poignant items of 2020

Yes: In this harrowing year, menu items can be poignant

It might be difficult to remember, but 2020 started out like a normal year, and new menu items seemed normal, as Velvet Taco offered a constantly rotating Weekly Taco Feature, Fazolli’s extended its mac & cheese line, TooJay’s Deli offered French toast made from cinnamon rolls and Wendy’s thought its systemwide rollout of breakfast would be a big news story for the year.

But of course that all came to a screeching halt in mid-March, and within a week of the nationwide shutdown restaurants adjusted by selling groceries, developing meal kits and creating meal bundles for families sheltering in place.

During that time Menu Tracker’s format changed as we concentrated on the groceries, meal kits and family bundles that were being rolled out. We stopped saying how long items would be available, because no one knew.

New, regular menu items started to re-emerge in late spring, but by July dining rooms were being shut down again and new meal kits and bundles started rolling out.

In this special year-in-review edition of Menu Tracker we take a look at how the cadence of new-item rollouts progressed over the course of the year, including items that foretell of trends we’ll see in 2021 and beyond.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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