Restaurant News Bites: Emeril, Del Taco, Panera Bread

Restaurant News Bites: Emeril, Del Taco, Panera BreadDespite owning 12 restaurants and producing over 2000 episodes of his show for food network, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse was still surprised by the equipment and practices of the kitchens he visits in the upcoming show “The Originals”. The chef will tour some of the most historical American eateries, including the Peter Luger Steakhouse and the Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Del Taco is adding two new crispy chicken offerings to their national menus. The Big Fat Crispy Chicken Taco includes a fresh breaded chicken tender, lettuce and tomatoes, grated cheese and your choice of a bacon ranch or creamy chipotle sauce. A Crispy Chicken burrito will also be added this week including the same sauce choices and two chicken tenders.

The new sirloin steak items Panera Bread is adding it to its chain menu this week have been in development for over two years. Options include the Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich, the Steak & White Cheddar Panini and a Steak & Bleu Cheese Salad. Only top quality sirloin steak cuts go into these items, and the meat is complemented with the best cheeses, toppings and lettuce.

Jamba Juice has expanded into its 24th state in the country, making it present in nearly half of all states. The new franchise location was opened in Orange, Connecticut. Operator David Katz is new to the chain, but is a graduate of the Center for Culinary Arts and is an accomplished business owner with years of experience in the restaurant industry.

Fazoli’s wants to recognize mothers year round, not just on Mother’s Day, so each regional market will award the Mother of the Year award to one lucky customer. The chosen mothers will be entitled to a year’s worth of free meals at Fazoli’s. Anyone can nominate their favorite mother through the company’s Facebook page.

America’s favorite Japanese themed restaurant chain, Benihana, is offering a new May special. The Hibachi Steak for Two meal involves five courses to feed two for just $40. Appetizers, salad, soup and hibachi grilled steak are all included in this meal. This special will not be available on Mother’s Day, and will return to its normal price when June begins.

Tulsa will be home to the next Dickey’s Barbeque Pit as the 70 year old chain continues to grow. While the company only operates 147 stores, 35% of their growth has occurred in the last 2 years. The Tulsa location is operated by Mark Woeppel.

Dunkin’ Donuts new advertising campaign will include four Boston Red Sox players and the team manager. The commercials and ads will combine two New England favorites – the Red Sox and Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee. Featured players include David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez.

Country music star Randy Travis is the newest musician to sign with the Cracker Barrel Music Program. The program exclusively distributes the releases of a variety of country and Christian musicians through their nationwide general store locations. Randy Travis’ new CD is self titled and part of the proceeds of each sale will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.