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Burgers across America: Chain restaurants innovate around the nation’s favorite entrée

New items from Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Bennigan’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, BurgerFi, Burger King, Dog Haus, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Elevation Burger, El Torito, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Friendly’s, Hurricane Grill & Wings, IHOP, Krystal, Logan’s Roadhouse, Shake Shack, Slater’s 50/50, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, Roy Rogers, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, Umami Burger, Wendy’s, Whataburger and Woody’s Bar-B-Q

Burgers are by far the country’s most popular menu item, with 7.6 billion orders placed for them in the year ending June 2021, according to The NPD Group/CREST. So it’s not surprising that restaurant chains across the country continue to find new ways to present them.

Some of the highlights of burger offerings in 2021 are featured here, but there were plenty of other approaches to keeping customers engaged. That includes the Hangover Krystal — a slider topped with bacon and an egg — that Krystal ushed in the new year with, as well as the pizza burgers from Slaters 50/50 for which the patties were made with 50% Italian sausage.

Burger King brought back its Sourdough King, and Hurricane Grill & Wings sandwiched a burger between quesadillas. BurgerFI experimented with a premium beef blend including American wagyu that turned out to be so popular that it earned a permanent spot on the menu, and Umami Burger teamed up with twin sister DJ duo NERVO to make a sandwich topped with fried pickles.

Many chains also started offering burgers with meat analogs such as Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, but since they tend to have similar builds as their beefy counterparts, we left them out of this gallery to showcase what new flavor combinations have been in the works this year.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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