Innovation and trends
Best Healthful Innovations: The kids’ menu at Silver Diner, Rockville, Md.
This 14-unit chain brought in 31 young guests, aged 5-12, and presented them with a five-course tasting of better-for-you items. Based on their feedback, Silver Diner reconfigured its kids menu so that all entrees come with fruit or vegetable and milk or juice, and expanded it to include teriyaki grilled salmon, a pizza quesadilla and other items fitting the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell criteria. The chain also removed French fries, home fries and soda from the printed menu.
Best Limited-Time Offer: Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Papa John’s International, Louisville, Ky.
Inspired by the popularity of Buffalo wings, Papa John’s introduced this pizza as an LTO at more than 3,000 restaurants in April 2012. It was so successful that it was introduced again in September to kick off football season, and many franchisees chose to keep it on the menu through November. Buffalo Chicken Pizza is now on the permanent menus of more than 250 restaurants, and Papa John’s management said it plans to make it one of the chain’s first international LTOs.
Menu Trendsetter: Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos from Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Countryside, Ill.
Chinese-style red braised pork on top of Latin-inspired nachos combine the exotic with the familiar in a forward-looking post-fusion style that points the way to a more adventuresome dining public. This $8.99 item of crisp tortillas, braised pork belly, scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro, radish and sweet chile barbecue sauce is a top-selling appetizer at this 11-unit concept.