Applebee’s Stacks, Stuffs, and Tops New Dishes

Applebee’s new Stacked Stuffed & Topped Steaks and Pastas take the neighborhood’s tried and true favorites – sirloin, chicken, pasta, and salad – and pair them with unexpected flavors like mozzarella scoops, fresh roasted vegetables, and bruschetta.

“Steaks and pastas are our best-selling core items so we know guests love them,” says Chef Shannon Johnson, executive director of culinary innovation and development at Applebee’s. “We are taking these tried and true favorites and literally stacking, stuffing, and topping with them with new flavors.

Today’s guests want to try new foods but are skeptical at spending money on something they might not like. In fact, 66 percent of consumers report they enjoy trying new flavors from time to time, while 20 percent say they prefer to stick to tried and true options, according to Technomic’s Flavor Consumer Trend Report.

The Applebee’s culinary team experimented with dozens of concepts before choosing the following Stacked Stuffed & Topped dishes, all of which scored well among focus groups:

· Florentine Topped House Sirloin – Applebee’s classic 7 oz. signature sirloin grilled to order with roasted red peppers, sliced mushrooms, onion, fresh spinach, and bruschetta, topped with garlic and herbs and served over fried red potatoes; a 9 oz. signature sirloin is available as well.

· Chicken Parmesan Stack – Country-fried chicken stuffed with Italian cheeses, smothered in Applebee’s spicy marinara, and served atop a bed of fettuccini with roasted garlic Alfredo, onions, and peppers, topped with parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese, and served with toasted garlic bread.

· Bruschetta Topped Chicken Salad – Grilled chicken breast and warm fried mozzarella scoops served on a bed of crisp romaine tossed with champagne vinaigrette and topped with juicy tomatoes, red onions, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, basil, and garlic, sprinkled with Asiago cheese, and finished with a balsalmic glaze.

The new items join Applebee’s Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettucini on the menuApplebee’s is also having some fun with Stuffed Meatballs, this time in an appetizer. Applebee’s Stuffed Meatballs & Mozzarella Scoops features two meatballs paired up with crispy scoops of golden fried mozzarella, topped with zesty marinara, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.

“People thought we were nuts when we took a perfectly good meatball and stuffed it with Provolone, but our guests have eaten 30 million of those meatballs in less than a year, so we’re definitely on to something,” Johnson says. “We’re putting excitement back into the casual dining experience and being almost irreverent in our approach.”

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