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New items from Del Taco, Starbucks, Papa John’s Pizza and Chipotle Mexican Grill

Plus additions from A&W Restaurants, Buffalo Wings & Rings, Cotton Patch Cafe, Einstein Bros. Bagels, El Pollo Loco, Gigi’s Cupcakes, Golden Chick, Pizza Inn, Quaker Steak & Lube, Rusty Taco, Smashburger, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, Tijuana Flats, Velvet Taco, Wayback Burgers and White Castle

It’s another big week in plant-based protein news as chains across the country, and in Canada, continue to offer new varieties of vegan meat substitutes.

Starbucks has rolled out a plant-based breakfast sandwiches across Canada, A&W has launched a Beyond Burger, El Pollo Loco has introduced a vegan chicken substitute incongruously called Chickenless Pollo (which translates as “chickenless chicken”), and Wayback Burgers is tying in promotion of its new Impossible Melt with Lent, which started on Wednesday and is when many Catholics avoid eating meat on Friday.

Seafood is a more typical Lenten special, of course, and Buffalo Wings & Rings, Del Taco, Golden Chick, Rusty Taco, Smashburger and White Castle have all introduced items that fit that bill.

Elsewhere, Einstein Bros. Bagels has launched a burrito-bagel mashup called the Bagelrito, and Papa John’s Pizza has new Jalapeño Popper Rolls that are baked in the chain’s signature crust.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill is innovating with two new sauces, and Cotton Patch Café and Quaker Steak & Lube have rolled out new seasonal menus.

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new queso, which it tested for much of last year, is now available systemwide.

Tijuana Flats’ new chef, Joel Reynders, has debuted his first items for the chain, Dog Haus has new cocktails, Gigi’s Cupcake has new cupcakes, Pizza Inn has new flatbreads and Velvet Taco’s weekly taco feature is celebrating Mardi Gras with fried alligator.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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