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Menu Tracker: New items from McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, and El Pollo Loco

Plus innovation at Buona, California Pizza Kitchen, Dutch Bros, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Freebirds World Burrito, Frutta Bowls, Golden Chick, Happy Joe’s, Krispy Kreme, Long John Silver’s, Naf Naf Grill, Papa Murphy’s, Potbelly, Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard, Snooze A.M. Eatery, Sprinkles, Toasted Yolk Café, Velvet Taco, Zalat Pizza, and Ziggi’s Coffee

McDonald’s isn’t actually adding new items; it’s doing something more difficult: Making its core items, specifically its burgers, better by tweaking the cooking to make them more consistent and tastier and to help the cheese melt better. It’s also offering its Big Mac sauce to accompany any of its menu items.

April 20 is International Cannabis Day, which didn’t used to be something that many restaurants acknowledged, given that the federal government classifies marijuana as a narcotic that’s as illegal as heroin. But now that it’s legal for recreational or medical use in the majority of states, many chains are getting on board, including Jack in the Box, Velvet Taco, and Zalat Pizza.

Although not explicitly related to weed, Krispy Kreme does have a new line of cookie doughnuts, Papa Murphy’s has a taco pizza, and Happy Joe’s has a sloppy Joe pizza.

Sadly for cold brew coffee, 4/20 is also National Cold Brew Coffee Day, and Dutch Bros is marking the occasion with a Chocolate Crunch Cold Brew that’s just available for 10 days and is really appropriate for both holidays.

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is offering a frozen cold brew.

Buona, the Chicago Italian beef chain, has a new salted caramel pretzel shake, and new shakes are also to be had at Freddy’s and Potbelly.

New spring menus have been launched by California Pizza Kitchen, Snooze, and Toasted Yolk Café, and Firebirds has new brunch items.

Fleming’s has a whole new daypart called the Social Hour, which is weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

El Pollo Loco has brought back birria, Freebirds has brough back brisket, and Golden Chick has brought back its Big & Wicked Chicken Sandwich.

Long John Silver’s has new cheesecake, Frutta Bowls has a new base made out of coconut, Naf Naf Grill has a new lemon vinaigrette, Ziggi’s Coffee has energy drinks, and Sprinkles has a cupcake made in partnership with Nguyen Coffee Supply.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Correction: April 20, 2023
A misspelling of Nguyen Coffee Supply has been corrected.
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