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Menu Tracker: New items from Wendy’s, Subway, Papa Johns, and Pizza Hut

Plus innovation at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Blaze Pizza, Bruster’s Real Ice cream, Bubbakoo’s Burritos, Buffalo’s Café, BurgerFi, Café Zupas, Carvel, Chicken Salad Chick, Chopt Creative Salad Co., Cold Stone Creamery, El Pollo Loco, Firehouse Subs, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Fogo de Chão, Guzman y Gomez, Häagen-Dazs, Huddle House, Krispy Krunchy Chicken, Mendocino Farms, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, Ruby Slipper, Smoothie King, Sprinkles, Sweetfin, Velvet Taco, and Yogurtland

There’s a fair amount of activity at pizza chains, but not much of it has to do with actual pizza. The exception is Pizza Hut, which is finally rolling out the hot honey pie that it tested last year, joining pretty much every other pizza chain.

By contrast, Papa Johns has new calzone bits, and Blaze Pizza now serves meatballs. Meanwhile, sandwich expert Mendocino Farms is putting pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni on brioche.

In a sort of similar vein, Firehouse Subs has a new chicken parm meatball sub (chicken parm is huge this season), and in the department of burritos imitating sandwiches, Bubbakoo’s Burritos has one inspired by the Philly cheesesteak.

In burger news, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar has a new one topped with Fritos, and BurgerFi has one with a simple build inspired by the 2022 film The Menu.

Subway has new dessert items, including collabs with Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, and there are also new sweets at Bruster’s Real Ice cream, Buffalo’s Café, Carvel (now with oat milk!), Chicken Salad Chick, Cold Stone Creamery, Häagen-Dazs, Huddle House, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Ruby Slipper, Sprinkles, and Yogurtland.

Café Zupas, a 75-unit chain out of Salt Lake City, has a bunch of new bowls, Chopt has a game day-themed salad (sort of — it’s Buffalo chicken), but only at its two Alabama locations, and Krispy Krunchy Chicken has a new Cajun sandwich.

Pei Wei has new fried shrimp, and also a poke bowl, and Smoothie King has a new sour cherry option inspired by a sleep aid gone viral (and that, according to science, probably doesn’t work that well).

Guzman y Gomez, a Mexican chain from Australia with four locations in Chicagoland, has a burrito containing French fries in the style of Southern California, and Sweetfin has a high-protein one.

Fleming’s has new spirit-free cocktails, Fogo de Chão has a new lower-priced dining option, El Pollo Loco has made its shredded taco a permanent addition, and Velvet Taco’s Weekly Taco Feature has fried shrimp in orange sauce.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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