Skip navigation
Menu Tracker

Menu Tracker: New items from Sonic, Papa Johns, and KFC

Plus innovation at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, BJ’s Restaurants, Black Angus Steakhouse, Blank Street Coffee, Bonanza and Ponderosa Steakhouses, Burgerville, Cinnaholic, Crumbl, Culver’s , Dairy Queen, Flying Biscuit Café, Fogo de Chão, Graze Craze, HTeaO, Jimmy John’s, Just Salad, Matchbox, Nando’s Peri Peri, Portillo’s, Pretzelmaker, Red Robin, Round Table Pizza, Smoothie King, StarbucksReserve, Tim Hortons, Velvet Taco, and Voodoo Doughnut

Food & beverage trends have gotten so weird that it has become really hard to tell whether a menu item launched on April Fools’ Day is real, or a joke.

Heck, Starbucks puts olive oil in its coffee, so is it really unreasonable to think that Ziggi’s Coffee is putting pickle juice in its coffee? After all, serving espresso with a slice of lemon peel is normal in parts of Europe, so a souring element is a normal addition.

But no. It turns out that Ziggi’s was joking.

Is BJ’s Restaurants joking about its Pizickle Pazookie, a chocolate chunk cookie topped with ice cream and pickle chips?


But we have come to accept items like the Bloody Mary on Black Angus Steakhouse’s new brunch menu as totally normal, even though it’s garnished with bacon, shrimp, a lemon wedge, and a pickle. On the face of it, that’s ridiculous, but it’s actually fairly understated compared to some of the Bloody Mary’s out there with garnishes such as grilled cheese sandwiches on top.

There’s a real solar eclipse coming up in much of the country on April 8, and Smoothie King and Sonic Drive-In are celebrating with special drinks.

And of course Sunday is Easter, so sister chains Bonanza and Ponderosa have a special Easter Feast buffet and Voodoo Doughnut has treats shaped like Peeps. Crumbl is offering carrot cake for the runup to Easter, possibly an allusion to the fact that the Easter Bunny, being a rabbit, probably enjoys carrots.

And April 3 is National Find a Rainbow Day, which Cinnaholic is celebrating with a special roll that’s available all month.

Unrelated probably, Nando’s Peri Peri has a rainbow bowl that’s now a permanent menu item.

Dairy Queen is jumping on ahead to summer with several new and returning Blizzards treats.

Papa Johns has cup-and-crisp pepperoni on several menu items, Jimmy John’s has a new sandwich based on the Caprese salad (plus salami), and Just Salad has a new item developed in collaboration with celebrity chef Marc Forgione.

KFC has several new sauces for its nuggets and Culver’s has thicker bacon.

Burgerville has seasonal strawberry shakes, HTeaO has strawberry tea, Portillo’s has new salads, and Tim Hortons is making its cookies, popular in Canada, available stateside.

There are new spring items at Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant, Fogo de Chão, Blank Street Coffee, Matchbox, Red Robin, Flying Biscuit Café, Graze Craze, and Pretzelmaker.

Round Table Pizza has a new pie topped with a bunch of meat, StarbucksReserve is adding hot honey to its drinks, and Velvet Taco’s Weekly Taco Feature is inspired by Chinese potstickers.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.