The Cheesecake Factory is tapping into food trends ranging from ancient grains and comfort food to healthful dishes with 14 new menu items.
The 156-unit casual-dining chain is also hitting top-trending international flavors, with dishes showcasing Mediterranean, Asian and Mexican flavors.
Five items have been added to its line of SkinnyLicious dishes, which have fewer than 590 calories:
• SkinnyLiciousEnchiladas in red chile sauce and melted cheese, served with escabeche vegetable salad, $11.95
• SkinnyLicious Pasta, twisted gemelli noodles with sautéed chicken, tomato, marinara sauce and basil, $11.95
• Island-Grilled Chicken, soy-glazed chicken breasts topped with macadamia nuts and served with vegetables and white rice, $14.50
• Shrimp Creole, simmered in spicy Tasso ham–tomato sauce with sautéed peppers, onions and garlic, served with white rice, $14.95
• Santorini Farro Salad, featuring an ancient grain of the Roman Empire whose popularity is currently spreading in the United States and Europe. Cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, red onion Feta cheese and tzatziki sauce and a vinaigrette dressing are included in the dish, which sells for $5.95.
Also from the Mediterranean, but not a SkinnyLicious item, is the classic Spanish dish Papas Bravas, or golden brown potatoes with garlic aïoli and a spicy sauce, for $4.95.
Kale, one of the hottest greens at independent restaurants these days, has been added to Cheesecake Factory’s menu in the new Fresh Kale Salad, which also has cranberries, apples, Marcona almonds and green beans, tossed with a buttermilk-black pepper dressing. It sells for $5.95.
Comfort food is represented with the new Over the Top Meatloaf Sandwich, covered with stout beer-marinated Swiss cheese, portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, aïoli and arugula, and served on grilled brioche. Housemade tomato-bacon jam is served on the side. The dish is $11.95.
Asian flavors are showcased in the breaded and fried Shrimp Toast Lollipops, with ginger, garlic, green onion, cilantro and sesame oil for $6.95.
The South is also represented in the new menu with a number of items.
• Shrimp and Grits with spicy Tasso sauce, $6.95
• Sweet Corn-White Cheddar Grits, $5.95
From south of the border are Green Chilaquiles with Carnitas and Eggs, slow-cooked pork with roasted poblano peppers, cheese, onions, cilantro and corn tortillas, garnished with tomatillo-chile sauce, tomato and sour cream. It sells for $11.95.
Two new milkshakes have been added to the menu as well, for $6.95 each.
• Coffee Mocha Chip Shake: Coffee ice cream blended with chocolate chips
• Nutty Chocolate Marshmallow Shake: Chocolate shake embellished with marshmallow and toasted almonds.