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Lunch Specials?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I think it would be fun (okay, I'm fishing for ideas.....:rolleyes:) to see what lunch specials you all are doing.

I have a very small cafe but do a nice to go lunch in addition to my catering business. I try to have something different every day to keep interest up.

Today's specials-it's going to be hot today- are the following:

*Green Pepper and Black Olive Burrito
*Chicken Enchiladas with Herbed Rice (these sell no matter how warm it gets)
*Mediterranean Plate -hummus, tabbouleh, lemon and oregano marinated chicken. feta, black olives
*Summer Turkey Soup a light soup with zuc, sum squash, green beans fresh tomatoes
post #2 of 33

90 degrees + and still they want chilli

chilli .. i tried some cold soups... nope.. where the heck is the chilli is all they reply... although.. it could have something to do with the beer...
post #3 of 33
We just started some promotional menu for Marriott corporate... some ideas im fond of... others im not so fond of:

Buffalo chicken chili with bleu cheese tortilla chips, celery, & carrot sticks

"The Worlds Smallest Meatloaf" - Three 1.5 oz meatloaf mounds with a ketchup-based sauce and a samuel adams gravy.

Truffle Oil & Asiago French Fries with an asian-influenced sam adams dip

Pesto chicken & provolone quesadillas with roasted garlic sour cream
post #4 of 33
the other renters in the church where my catering kitchen is have special health is a celeiac (severe) and needs low sodium (2000mg day) so lunch is whatever I have in the kitchen.......last week it was fresh Tuna salad nicoise, soft-shell crabs with corn flour on a bed of local greens with fruit and chocolate meragines, it's been BBQ pork sandwiches with chips and pickle when I've butchered pigs.....
Shrimp Creole with frozen shrimp seems to be a favorite.
Mediterranean platter....dolmas, cuke sauce, hummos, green salad, olives, Goatsbeard chevre, pita chips.....

Usually I have extra fruit/vegetables when there are larger events. Red peppers, onions, potatoes, pesto frozen from last years bounty, always lettuces.....this past time it was carrots, cukes, zucchini, onions, potatoes, plum I made tomato based veg soup. Actually that is the low priced meal I offer for in-house events. Veg Soup, salad (sometimes slaw) cornbread, cheesey biscuits, brownies.....sometimes I'll throw in deviled eggs just as a lagniape.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
The only time I've ever seen cold soups sell is a vegetarian place I used to work. People seem to be afraid of them! I must admit, I'm not overly fond of them either!

Buffalo Chicken Chili? That's the Rachel Ray recipe, isn't it?:suprise: That one sells very well for me. The Pesto chicken and provolone quesadillas sound great!

How about a beef quesadilla with marinated onions and bleu cheese?
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

Sounds delicious!
post #7 of 33
I have not made the buffalo chicken chili, but a quick look at the recipe leads me to believe it is a standard chili using ground chicken instead and adding buffalo sauce to it...

The pesto quesadillas are actually quite popular with the staff, though I think the idea is a little too "out there" for our customers to want to try them.
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Almost, RAS, but no beans and very simple and quick. Here the recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Chili | Rachael Ray Show
post #9 of 33
Ahh, yeah that one is different...

Here is another special that actually sounds pretty good

Pan-seared lemon sole with roasted roma tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli rabe, and a lemon-herb vinaigrette
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
The salmon sounds good- I like salmon anytime, done almost any way. I'll even eat it for breakfast if there's any left over at home. I've never done it in shop.

I'm still thinking about your pesto chix quesadillas! Yum! Maybe if you didn't call them quesadillas, but something like grilled pesto chicken wrap w/ provolone. People may be hung up thinking that quesadillas should be south of the border style with salsa. You could use the exact same ingredients, and probably even fold them the same or you could wrap them burrito style and throw them on the griddle.

They sound like a special my customers would like. Maybe I'll try it today since I don't have any ideas of my own....
post #11 of 33
my lunch menus are ingredient driven, yesterday I made pecan dacquise with pastry cream, strawberry rhubarb goo....very tasty and no glutin!
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #12 of 33
When we do specials, we often feature them in the bar as well. The quesadillas are aimed more for the appetizer-driven bar crowd instead of the restaurant, but they are indeed incredibly good. We have a TGIFriday's right next door to us, so competition for this market is very tense.

I do notice though that our clientelle are not very outgoing, as we feature some really neat (and sometimes weird) specials, but do not sell anything. The reliable "steak & potatoes" dishes sell very well though.
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Beef and Bleu goes well for me- deli roast beef, bleu cheese mixed with lots of pepper, sour cream and mayo, with sliced red onions and tomato. They might do well as a "slider" (that's the small burger thing, isn't it?) at the bar.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Please forgive my ignorance, but is that like a tart? Sounds good, whatever it is. I love rhubarb.
post #15 of 33
I've actually done something similar (for myself), roast beef sandwich with a chipotle-bleu cheese mayo. I personally thought it was amazing, but since I am not the Chef, all I can do is stick notes in the suggestion box.
post #16 of 33
Blue Angel was a rare roast beef with mayo, blue cheese, red onions, sprouts
on baguette

Years ago I made a flank steak salad with slices of med rare flank, blue cheese, balsamic viniagrette, red grapes

Tart I guess.....two layers of meragine with pastry cream and rhubarb/strawberry goo in the middle.....I HATE NAMING SHTUFF.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #17 of 33

I ran the pesto chicken and provolone quesadilla with the roasted garlic sour cream as a lunch special today and must of sold 50 of them big thanks to RAS1187 for the great idea 


post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 

Wammy, thanks for resurecting this thread!  I had forgotten all about the quesadilla idea, but it looks like a monday special to me! 

Any new ideas since 2007?  We've grown our cafe since then and run about 4 or 5 specials every day.  I spend a good amount of time looking for new and interesting things on the internet.

post #19 of 33

I wanted to reply earlier, but waited to see if anyone wanted to play first.

I search the internet all night for ideas.   Usually just end up using google/images and go from there.

"Does it look good?  Okay, I'll check out the recipe."


4 or 5 a day?  List them!

Here's some lunch specs that have been moving well for me...


Fish Taco:

1z cod, beer batter then panko breading. deep fry.

shredded cabbage and radish

yogurt/sour cream/cilantro sauce

handmade (purchased) corn tortilla

1z pico on the side


Flank Steak Sammy:

flank steak rubbed generously with Montreal seasoning

(I made my own, recipe is at work. Orange peel, gran garlic, dill, kosher salt, pepper, crsh red pepper, celery seed, etc)

seared, cooked MR and sliced thin, 3z per order




horseradish sour cream


Italia Stallion

I accidentally purchased a prosciutto cotto. Needed to get rid of it. Came up with this great sandwich; realized half way through making it -it's a muffaletta rip-off.  *sigh*

prosciutto cotto

hard salami


quatro fromaggio


pepperoncini/kalamata/rst red bell/red onion/oregano/olive oil/n'stuff


Banh Mi

Everyone has their own take on this

It moves, especially when it's hot outside.

check it out:


Haven't run these in a while, but they always sell well for me:


Ham Sammy:

marbled rye (thick)

4z shaved ham

apple butter

Swiss cheese

...that's it.  Apple butter is the x-factor.


Roast Beef Po'Boy

You probably don't need a recipe...

I prefer Parisian baguette or something with a light crust and a crumb that will absorb the gravy. Others may not. w/e

hinged bread, not sliced through!


rst beef




If food cost permits, add sliced ham, tomatoes, and pickles.  It's a bit overkill though IMHO.


Fish specs lately have been taking advantage of the fresh berry season and the salmon season.

This week was raspberry/chipotle salsa on salmon. Polenta cake. Veg.

Could just make a salad out of it for lunch, though.

Raspberry vinaigrette ...  I'm starting to type train of thought now.

I'll stop then.



Okay, your turn!  smile.gif



post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 

Okay, I'll play too.


Fresh Roast Turkey Breast, pepper jack cheese, raspberry jam- grill it or serve it cold with lettuce


Eiffel Tower- fresh roast turkey with strawberry jam, brie, and baby spinach- served grilled


Roast chicken- white and dark meat, with eggplant,  summer squash ribbons, very thinly sliced red and green bell peppers,
feta, and sage pesto mayo
  Works best as a wrap


Grilled Roasted Veggie Wrap- roasted veg (sweet potato, summer and zuc, red and green bell peppers, onion, garlic, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper), fresh mozzarella, garlic mayo


Hanson Street Wrap-deli turkey, bacon, havarti cheese,  red onion, and chipotle cranberry sauce    Served grilled



Apple Harvest Chicken Salad- diced breast, mayo, thyme, salt and pepper, bleu cheese crumbles, pecans, diced apples, dried cranberries


Antipasti Melt  salami, deli ham, black olive tapenade, red onion, fresh spinach,  fresh mozzarella, provolone, and balsamic vinegar


I'm hungry now.

post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 

left4bread,  what is your raspberry chipotle salsa?  Sounds like something I'd like!

post #22 of 33

This was a lunch special I did for a while:


Toasted baguette, drizzled lightly with basil infused olive oil, thin sliced prosciutto de parma, fresh buffalo mozz and a fresh basil leaf. We served it with a simple spring greens salad topped with a tomato balsamic vinaigrette.


It was very popular. Only reason we stopped serving it was because our supplier wouldn't stop sending us out of date prosciutto and basil in these parts has been looking VERY bad.


post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 

Momandchef,  Looks delicious!  We do something similar with roasted red peppers, pesto, fresh mozz, tomato, and a drizzle of balsamic.  no proscuitto, though.


Did one the other day with Salami and Peperonata- sauteed peppers, onion, capers, and balsamic with provolone and salami.


I started doing a panini one day after a catering job when we had lots of meatballs in marinara left.  We slice the mb in half, drain a jar of giardinara and process until chopped fine, then slather a sliced of bread with garlic mayo, add the mballs, a slice of provolone, and the giardinara relish on the other slice of bread.  People have told us that this needs to be on the menu not just the specials. Funny though, when we but the exact same ingredients in a sub roll topped with marinara, it doesn't sell.



post #24 of 33
Originally Posted by lentil View Post

Funny though, when we but the exact same ingredients in a sub roll topped with marinara, it doesn't sell.

Typical tongue.gif

That does sound pretty bomb, though, the MB sandwich with gardenia puree and provolone.


And more typical, you want a recipe for the one dish I posted that the sous chef came up with...


I'm not sure, but I'd bet we could both fake it.  Fresh raspberries, chipotle in adobo, sugar, onion?  It was macerated.  Was probably just fresh raspberries mashed with "chipotle in adobe" puree.

The raspberries are all but free right now (in season) so.....  yeah.


Cranberries on salad with cheese is a winner for sure.

I've re-hydrated them in port for a salad topping before, rst shallot vin.  goat chz.





post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 

Did these today:


grilled chicken breast, olive tapenade, baby spinach sauteed w/garlic, feta cheese - as a panini


roasted corn and black bean salad, fresh roast turkey, boursin, lettuce in a wrap


pulled bbq chicken, avocado, bacon, let, tom


Thanks for the raspberry chipotle recipe!



post #26 of 33

Thanks! It was my husband's favorite sandwich and he won't eat anything he has trouble pronouncing. (listening to him say prosciutto is funny)

Originally Posted by lentil View Post


Did one the other day with Salami and Peperonata- sauteed peppers, onion, capers, and balsamic with provolone and salami.




post #27 of 33 tacos still rolling.  Sold well enough to keep them on the special list for another week.


Still want to play, just too busy atm. :)


Oh yeah! Just remembered we're doing this:


quesodilla special


smoked chix breast,


rst poblano,

cilantro crema (cheated with sour cream and heavy cream) drizzled on top,

"fire-roasted" tomato salsa on the side.


Joke in the kitchen is that the chicken was smoked with "Connecticut Laurel, Damascus Rosemary, and Egyptian Hickory".

Not sure why we thought it was so funny.

Maybe because we ran out of smoked chicken so we blanched some and rubbed it with chipotle in adobo puree to make a few orders.

"Smoke and mirrors", as a former chef I worked for used to say...


post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 

Had an idea for one of tomorrow's specials- panko and parmesan crusted chicken tenders, baked or fried eggplant, light marinara sauce, and a sprinkling of mozzarella- maybe fresh mozz, served panini style in roasted pepper sourdough bread. 



post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 

No, skip the panko.  It would be too much with the bread.

post #30 of 33

Here's your Iron Chef challenge:


Nathan's hot dogs

corn bread

baked beans

stadium rolls

chicken wings


chicken thigh meat


...getting rid of freezer surplus for new chef.  I'm a prince, I know...



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