Islands Restaurants, known for its signature burgers, ice-cold drinks and laid-back beachy atmosphere, is doubling down on its commitment to quality with a sweeping campaign to avoid growth hormones, antibiotics, artificial ingredients and preservatives in its latest menu roll-out hitting all 44 restaurants by the end of the month. The emphasis on cleaner ingredients launches alongside more customizable menu options, like adding on Islands' new Ghost Pepper or Truffle Fries to create an uber-flavorful experience.
Islands Restaurants embarked on this mission prior to the pandemic, but has ramped up its efforts as it welcomes back guests looking to celebrate and unwind at their favorite neighborhood restaurant. The new "Clean & Customized" menus began rolling out in March as the result of a two-year effort to meticulously comb through each and every ingredient to find the most wholesome alternatives while maintaining each dishes' crave-worthy flavor. Currently the majority of the menu features meats free of antibiotics and growth hormones, nitrites and nitrates, and artificial ingredients or preservatives, with a goal of being completely clean by 2022.
"Working towards a cleaner menu was simply the right thing to do, to honor our commitment of quality to our guests," says Islands' President Michael Smith. "With increasingly health-conscious guests, we took this time during the pandemic to work even harder to source the best possible ingredients and define a clear path towards a 100 percent clean menu."
While working to source cleaner ingredients that still deliver the restaurant's signature Islands flavors, Vice President of Food & Beverage, Tim Perreira also sought to refine existing recipes and techniques to add extra pop to the menu. One major area of emphasis is the restaurant's cult-favorite fries. Perreira wanted to highlight their hot and crispy amazingness by adding bold flavors and making them their own dish - unbundling them from sandwiches. This allows the kitchen to prepare them individually for each order and deliver them hotter and fresher to the guest.
Island Fries are cut fresh daily, with the skins left on and cooked to order. Islands' new Ghost Pepper Fries are tossed with a Tabasco oil blend, ghost pepper salt, and cotija cheese. They're served with machete aioli. The new Truffle Fries are topped with truffle oil, truffle sea salt and a parsley parmesan blend. They're served with truffle aioli.
"My goal was to expand on what we do best – deliver fun and craveable dishes to our guests, with a commitment to wholesome ingredients," says Perreira. "We hope that our regulars notice our fresher dishes and enjoy trying some new items, and that guests who haven't visited in a while find a bolder, healthier, and reinvigorated menu!"
Another welcomed benefit of Islands' new sourcing has been a lower carbon footprint as a result of more locally procured ingredients such as hormone and antibiotic free ground beef sourced in the United States.
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