After a scorcher of a weekend in many parts of the country, cravings for ice cream, frosty drinks and lighter fare rose along with the temperature. New items on restaurant menus are helping to feed these cravings. Some deliver a refreshing way to beat the heat, while others evoke the flavors and memories of summertime fun. Here’s a roundup of the latest additions and seasonal promotions.
Strawberries are synonymous with summer, and Wendy’s is playing off their seasonality in a new Summer Strawberry Chicken Salad. The salad starts with a bed of chopped lettuce and spring mix, topped with hand-picked strawberries, crisp applewood-smoked bacon, Tuscan cheese blend, grilled chicken, praline almonds and Champagne vinaigrette.
Peet’s Coffee is also picking strawberries to star in its “Summer of Strawberries” beverage lineup. The selections include a Mocha Strawberry Frappe made with cold brew, chocolate sauce, milk and ice, then layered with strawberry puree; a Matcha Strawberry Frappe with matcha green tea as a base; and a Strawberry Creme Frappe whipped up with milk, ice and strawberry puree. Also on the menu are a Strawberry Lemon Fruit Tea Shaker and a Berry Hibiscus Fruit Tea Shaker, both featuring strawberry puree and fresh strawberry slices.
Clean Juice is increasing the frequency of its seasonal debuts, starting with its summer launches. New on the menu is The Hydrating One, a fresh juice made with organic watermelon, pineapple and mint. Accompanying the drink is the Incredi Bowl, an antioxidant-rich acai bowl that’s a combo of bananas, spinach, blueberries, blue spirulina, vanilla, almond butter, honey, hemp protein and almond milk topped with granola, strawberries, chia seeds and coconut chips.
The Peach Milkshake kicks off summer at Chick-fil-A—a customer favorite introduced in 2009 that has returned to the menu. The LTO blends the chain’s signature Icedream dairy product with peaches, and the milkshake is topped with whipped cream and a cherry. “It’s the little things like a cold treat on a warm day that makes summer so sweet, and this is one of the many reasons we are thrilled to welcome back this much-anticipated favorite,” said Beth Hefner, a member of Chick-fil-A’s menu development team.
Peaches share the spotlight with creamy burrata cheese in Sweetgreen’s Peach + Burrata Bowl. The summer special features a double serving of peaches, burrata cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, roasted almonds, spring mix and shredded kale, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. But Sweetgreen’s emphasis on local, seasonal sourcing means the item will only be available on the Early Summer Menu in Atlanta, Denver, L.A., Miami, San Francisco and Texas. Other locations will be offering the Berry + Burrata Bowl with blueberries and strawberries replacing the peaches.
Watermelon and blackberries are the summer fruits highlighted in Jamba’s two new smoothies. For June, there’s the Watermelon Breeze Smoothie—a blend of watermelon-grape juice, raspberry sherbet, strawberries and pineapple. Come July, the plant-based Summer Blackberry arrives. This smoothie combines blackberry-pear juice, frozen oat milk dessert, vanilla coconut milk and pineapple.
Nekter Juice Bar
Nekter Juice Bar is bringing back its nutrient-dense Watermelon Berry Smoothie and Watermelon Cooler Juice, both on the menu through Sept. 8. But several new items are also part of the limited-time summer promotion. There’s a Tropical Citrus Bowl, a combo of spinach, pineapple, acerola cherry, banana and orange juice, topped with vanilla coconut yogurt, granola, banana, pineapple and coconut flakes, as well as the Pineapple Coconut Bowl, a fusion of pineapple and coconut topped with granola, pineapple and coconut flakes. Also coming out of the pipeline are the high-protein PB Mocha Smoothie made with cashew milk and Celery Aide Fresh Juice.