Maggiano’s Little Italy will debut daily and weekend brunch menus on Feb. 28, executives of the brand said this week.
The 52-unit Italian division of Dallas-based Brinker International Inc., which also owns the 1,600 Chili’s Grill & Bar brand, will be offering a limited brunch weekdays and a full brunch weekend menu starting March 4.
Larry Konecny, Maggiano’s vice president for innovations and restaurant support, said brunch will provide the brand with an expanded dining occasion.
“We own celebrations,” Konecny said Sunday at a preview of the brunch offerings. “That’s what we do. We’ve got everything from mitzvah rehearsal dinners and other life celebrations.
“Brunch on the weekend is a family celebration,” he added. “We feel that’s very much in our wheelhouse. I don’t think it will be hard for guests to connect with that.”
Brunch menu items will range from vegetarian fritattas to eggs Benedict and lemon ricotta pancakes with whipped cream and berries.
Jeffrey Hanak, Maggiano’s senior director of culinary, said five versions of eggs Benedict, including salmon and a premium crabcake, will be on the weekend menu and four on the daily brunch menu.
“What we are known for is our spaghetti and meatballs,” Hanak said, “so we have a meatball Benedict. The meatball is paired with dried Roma tomato. The acidity of the tomato really cuts through the weight of the meatball.”
Bread service, a signature item at Maggiano’s, will be given a brunch spin with a new complementary orange streusel cake, Hanak said.
Konecny said brunch is a bit more a challenge operationally. “From a culinary perspective, it’s more complex: whipping eggs, making hollandaise sauce, poaching eggs,” he said. “There’s a lot of care and concern that goes into every dish.”
Steve Provost, Maggiano’s president, said the large Little Italy restaurants have become destinations for numerous events, including the rather new one of baby gender announcement gatherings, so the brunch addition tapped into the theme of celebrations.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless