Mini sandwiches continue their march onto Top 400 menus, proving that big ideas can come in bite-size packages.
This article first appeared in the 15 July 2008 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. Visit the R&I website to find out more about the magazine or to search its recipe database.
By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor
Buffalo Chicken Minis (pictured above)
Bennigan's Grill & Tavern, Plano, Texas. The casual-dining chain's Burger Bites quickly became the menu's second-best seller when they were introduced two years ago, so Bennigan's new core menu devotes one section to Mini Bites noshes. In this latest entry, cool blue-cheese dressing accents crisp-fried chicken breasts coated in zesty Buffalo sauce.
Famous Dave's, Minnetonka, Minn. Tested as a limited-time offer last fall, scaled-down versions of the barbecue chain's four signature sandwiches recently joined the regular menu at all company restaurants. The Georgia Chopped Pork, Texas Beef Brisket, BBQ Pulled Chicken and Hot Link Sausage sandwiches are served on toasted sesame-seed buns.
Ahi Tuna Ciabatta Burgers
T.G.I. Friday's, Carrollton, Texas. Inspired by a winning home-cook recipe on Food Network's "Ultimate Recipe Showdown," this entrée presents two petite sandwiches with ahi tuna, lettuce, tomatoes and onions on ciabatta buns. Anaheim green-chile sauce is served on the side, along with a salad of field greens tossed with Italian vinaigrette.
Slider Appetizer Platter
Shari's Restaurant & Pie Bakery, Beaverton, Ore. This shareable, handheld starter combo from the family-dining chain brings together two favorites. Mustard-topped mini hot dogs share a plate with downsized cheeseburgers, pickle chips and ketchup. To make the appetizer a meal, customers can order the sliders lunch: two mini burgers and two mini dogs with fries.