4 out-of-the-box menu items inspired by the state fair

Chain restaurants have taken a cue from carnivals this summer, churning out new iterations of fried-anything fare faster than a tilt-a-whirl. Read on for a sampling of the sort of concoctions that may find a foothold in noncommercial ops as well.

Let them eat cake…

funnel cake sundae

Funnel cake has moved beyond the fairground, as mentions of the item on menus have increased 2.3% year over year, according to Technomic.

Dairy Queen last week introduced its own rendition: Funnel Cake a la Mode. The chain’s latest addition to its DQ Bakes line, the cake is served alongside vanilla soft serve and topped with powdered sugar and a choice of hot fudge, strawberry or caramel sauce.

…and ice cream

dairy queen cotton candy blizzard

The Dairy Queen chain is doubling down on fair food, as it’s also promoting a Cotton Candy Blizzard featuring sprinkles and cotton candy topping.

One hot dog

shite castle corn dog nibbler

White Castle offers diners a new way to enjoy the fair staple, the corn dog—by the “sack.” The chain’s Corn Dog Nibblers are made with chicken instead of the traditional beef, and also come in a mac and cheese version made with cheddar batter.

A fair shake

popeyes chicken tenders

Popeyes last month launched Southern Fair Tenders, an item the chain says imparts the essence of a day spent at the fair. As a combo, the tenders are served with Cajun Fries and a honey mustard dipping sauce.


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