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10 Restaurant Chains Launching Exciting New Menu Items This January

Restaurant chains have already announced a plethora of exciting new items in 2024.
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Seeing tantalizing new food and drink options pop up at your favorite eateries is always a welcome surprise—and this year is already shaping up to be a major one in terms of menu innovation at some of America's biggest restaurant chains.

Just a little over a week into 2024, several popular chains have already announced a plethora of exciting items coming to menus. Some of these items are completely brand-new. Others are returning fan favorites that haven't been available for some time. But what they all have in common is the fact that they're available to customers starting this month.

We've rounded up all the chains launching notable new food and drink options in January 2024 for consumers who are craving something new to try. Just take note that many of these new menu items will only be available for a limited time, so don't wait too long to snag any limited-edition foods or beverages that pique your interest.

In the meantime, read on to learn about all of the exciting new menu items coming to 10 major restaurant chains this month!

Shake Shack

Shake Shake Korean BBQ items
Courtesy of Shake Shack
Korean Style Fried Chicken sandwich (Per Order): 600 cal, 27 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 1,020 mg sodium, 55 g carbs (1 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 34 g protein

Shake Shack just announced that not just one, but four exciting new items are hitting menus this month. All of the new additions feature "swicy" (sweet and spicy) or umami-forward flavors.

The chain's new Korean Style Fried Chicken sandwich features crispy chicken breast that's coated in a sweet and spicy gochujang glaze, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and topped with a white kimchi slaw on a toasted potato bun. The white kimchi slaw is made with Choi's Kimchi, a Portland-based kimchi brand.

Meanwhile, a new Korean BBQ Burger features 100% Angus beef topped with crispy sweet onions, fresh scallions, and a savory Korean BBQ sauce on a toasted potato bun.

Sides make up the other two new options debuting at Shake Shack. The new Spicy Korean BBQ Fries feature crinkle-cut fries dusted with kimchi seasoning and served with a side of Korean BBQ sauce. The new Spicy Korean BBQ Cheese Fries are exactly the same aside from the addition of Shake Shack's cheese sauce.

All of the limited-edition items will be available starting on Jan. 12, but customers can score early access through the Shake Shack app starting on Jan. 9.

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Dave's Hot Chicken

Dave's Hot Chicken Cauliflower Slider
Courtesy of Dave's Hot Chicken

The latest menu items at Dave's Hot Chicken, surprisingly, don't feature chicken. The California-based chain just took a major step by introducing brand-new Cauliflower Sliders and Bites nationwide on Jan. 8. These are the first new core offerings at Dave's Hot Chicken since it started as a parking lot pop-up in 2017, according to a press release.

Dave's crafts these new veggie menu items with whole heads of cauliflower that are hand-sliced, seasoned, and fried to order. To celebrate the launch of the new chicken-less options, the chain has rebranded more than a dozen of its locations to "Dave's NOT Chicken."

First Watch

First Watch Brooklyn Breakfast Sandwich
First Watch
Brooklyn Breakfast Sandwich: 930 cal, 67 g fat (25 g saturated fat), 1,910 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (5 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 35 g protein

First Watch loves to adjust its menu based on the best flavors and ingredients of any given season. So, it should come as no surprise that the breakfast chain just announced a brand-new seasonal menu to kick off 2024. The selection of limited-edition menu items are inspired by "regional foodie hot spots" like Brooklyn, N.Y., and Mexico City, according to First Watch.

One standout on the seasonal menu is a new Brooklyn Breakfast Sandwich loaded with shaved pastrami, Gruyère cheese, an over-easy cage-free egg, and other accoutrements on an everything-seasoned brioche bun. Customers will also find a new Barbacoa Chilaquiles Breakfast Bowl with seasoned, braised beef and a new Blackberry Lemon Cream French Toast with custard-dipped challah bread, lemon cream, mixed berry compote, lemon cream, crème anglaise, and spiced gingerbread cookie crumbles.

First Watch changes its menu every 10 weeks, so customers can enjoy these new options until the next set of seasonal items arrives.

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Red Lobster

Red Lobster CrispySalt & Vinegar Shrimp
Red Lobster
CrispySalt & Vinegar Shrimp (Per Serving): 410 cal, 32 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 1,050 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 10 g protein

Love salt and vinegar potato chips? If so, this brand-new menu item from Red Lobster might be right up your alley.

The seafood chain just announced that new CrispySalt & Vinegar Shrimp will be joining its menu for a limited time. The new flavor is featured on Red Lobster's Ultimate Endless Shrimp menu, which allows customers to order as much shrimp as they can eat. The CrispySalt & Vinegar Shrimp are also available on Red Lobster's Shrimp Your Way menu, which allows customers to mix and match different kinds of shrimp for their meal.

This isn't the only new item that just joined Red Lobster's menu, however. The chain also just launched a new selection of mocktails and a new Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail made with premium jumbo shrimp.


Chick-fil-A Mango Passion drinks lined up against a white background
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Mango Passion Sunjoy (Per Serving): 160 cal, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (34 g sugar), 0 g protein

Chick-fil-A brought back its popular Mango Passion Sunjoy—a combination of lemonade, iced tea, and mango and passion fruit flavors—on Jan. 8. And because the drink was such a big hit with customers when it initially appeared a few years ago, the chain also launched three completely new drinks with the same tropical flavors: Mango Passion Lemonade, Mango Passion Iced Tea, and Mango Passion Frosted Lemonade.

The Mango Passion Lemonade is a combination of lemonade and mango and passion fruit flavors, while the Mango Passion Iced Tea replaces the lemonade with iced tea. The Mango Passion Frosted Lemonade features lemonade or diet lemonade combined with Chick-fil-A's vanilla-flavored Icedream dessert and mango and passion fruit flavors.

All four drinks will be available at participating restaurants nationwide while supplies last.

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KFC Spicy Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap

KFC's fried chicken wraps are back and more plentiful than ever. The chain gave its line of Kentucky Fried Chicken Wraps an encore this past November following its initial debut in February 2023. Then, earlier this month, KFC expanded the line with two brand-new flavors: a Spicy Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap and a Honey BBQ Chicken Wrap. The new options joined the Classic Chicken Wrap, Spicy Slaw Chicken Wrap, and Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap that were already on the menu.

The Spicy Mac & Cheese Chicken Wrap features an Extra Crispy Tender, mac and cheese, spicy mayo, and a three-cheese blend wrapped inside a soft tortilla. The Honey BBQ Chicken Wrap features an Extra Crispy Tender, honey BBQ sauce, mayo, and crunchy pickles wrapped inside a soft tortilla.

All five wraps will only be available for a limited time, so fans should enjoy them while they can.


Applebee's Mezcal margaritas

Applebee's has a star-studded selection of beverages for the 21-plus crowd hitting menus right now. The casual dining chain just announced three brand-new margaritas featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Teremana Tequila and Dos Hombres Mezcal, which was created by former Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

The new Breaking Rock Rita features Dos Hombres Mezcal, Teremana Blanco Tequila, blue curacao, lime, and a blue sugar rim. A new Passion Fruit Mezcal Rita features Dos Hombres Mezcal, Teremana Blanco Tequila, triple sec, lime, and a gummi lip garnish. Finally, the new Classic Mezcal Rita is a simple combination of Applebee's signature margarita mix, Dos Hombres Mezcal, Teremana Blanco Tequila, triple sec, and lime.

All of the new drinks will be available for $9 for a limited time. Applebee's also just brought back its $14.99 All You Can Eat Boneless Wings, Riblets, and Double Crunch Shrimp deal, so customers can eat to their hearts' content while sipping on the new limited-edition drinks.

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Bojangles Chicken Rice Bowl
Chicken Rice Bowl (Per Order): 780 cal, 27 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 3,550 mg sodium, 86 g carbs (12 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 48 g protein

Rice bowls probably aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bojangles, a regional chicken chain best known for its fried chicken, biscuits, and southern sides. But, that all could change with the debut of Bojangles' new Chicken Rice Bowl.

The item features Bojangles' Dirty Rice, slow-cooked Cajun Pintos, shredded Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, and the customer's choice of diced grilled chicken breast or Bojangles Chicken Supremes. Texas Pete hot sauce is served on the side. Customers can sample the new Chicken Rice Bowl for a limited time at participating Bojangles locations.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme 2024 Biscoff Collection
Krispy Kreme

Cookie butter lovers, rejoice! Following a popular collaboration in 2023, Biscoff and Krispy Kreme have once again teamed up to release a collection of doughnuts. But, this time around, the doughnuts "have even more Biscoff cookie crunch, more Biscoff cookie butter and more deliciousness," said Dave Skena, global chief Brand officer for Krispy Kreme, in a press release.

The collection includes a new Biscoff Cookie Butter Cheesecake Doughnut with a cookie butter cheesecake filling, cookie butter icing, Biscoff cookie crumble, and a cookie butter drizzle. There's also a new Biscoff Chocolate Iced Cookie Butter Crunch Doughnut that features an Original Glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut dipped in chocolate icing, topped with a cookie butter buttercream dollop, and Biscoff cookie crumbles.

The final treat in the collection is a Biscoff Cookie Butter Iced Doughnut, which features an Original Glazed doughnut dipped in cookie butter icing. Customers can find the collection in Krispy Kreme shops and select grocery stores where fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts are delivered daily.

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Zaxby's Asian Zensation Zalad

Zaxby's has given its customers a belated holiday gift by bringing back two fan-favorite menu items: the Asian Zensation Zalad and hand-rolled Egg Rolls.

The salad features Zaxby's fried Chicken Fingerz or grilled chicken served with mixed greens, red cabbage, carrots, crispy wonton strips, Asian slaw, a honey sesame teriyaki glaze, and a citrus vinaigrette dressing. In a press release, Patrick Schwing, Zaxby's chief marketing and strategy officer, said that this is one of the "top requested seasonal menu items" among the chain's fans.

The salad is served with a Veggie Egg Roll on the side. Customers can also order two Egg Rolls on their own with a Sweet & Spicy dipping sauce. Both items will only be available for a limited time, so fans shouldn't wait too long before heading over to their local Zaxby's.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe