Restaurant chains are looking for a little luck of the Irish. As rising commodity prices and changes in dining habits put dents in the bottom line, a little gimmick never hurts.
Accordingly, some eateries are temporarily dying menu items green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day in the hopes of bringing in more, well, green.
Though some restaurants have discontinued their Irish traditions — this year, for example, Burger King decided to nix the green ketchup and free fries — others are still going strong with green shakes, bagels, doughnuts and more.
Ring Around the Shamrock
For St. Paddy's Day, Dunkin'
Donuts has gone full-blown Irish, with a slew of seasonal beverages
including Irish Crème coffees (booze-free, of course) and minty green
New this year to the Massachusetts-based doughnut empire are
the Mint Oreo and Mint Oreo Creme Donuts, featuring, according to the company,
"a yeast ring frosted with pastel green icing and crumbled mint Oreo
cookies." The creme versions takes all of that and stuffs it with
There's also a Mint Hot Chocolate, which "puts a spin on the classic Hot Chocolate with a cool, invigorating minty flavor."
Try combining the two for gloriously rich overkill.
Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest ice cream chain, is owned by the same company as Dunkin’ Donuts. Though the ice cream shop is known for its 31 flavors, in reality, Baskin-Robbins has explored more than 1,000 varieties since it opened in 1945. Retired flavors include Beatle Nut, Whyte 2K Chocolate Overload and Miami Ice.
This year, B-R is getting into the St. Paddy’s Day spirit
with a special sweet treat — a green-iced ice cream cake, complete with
shamrock-studded clouds and a rainbow with a pot of gold, to be specific. The St. Patrick's Day Cake is customizable with any ice
cream and cake flavor, and it serves 12-16 people.
Big Green Bagels
Though a toasted New York-style bagel with a schmear of
cream cheese might sound anything but Irish, Bruegger's Bagels cranks
up the homage to the emerald isle by making almost shockingly shamrock-green
bagels every Saint Patrick's Day.
Bruegger's kettle boils approximately 70 million bagels a year, and about 100,000 of those annually are green. Those bagels, part of a tradition kick-started by a Pittsburgh Bruegger’s in 1997, taste just like any other plain bagel — but probably look extra pretty when stacked with smoked salmon.
To further milk the whole green thing (in a fairly healthy way), try the vegetable-heavy Leonardo de Veggie sandwich on a green bagel with a side of the restaurant's cheese and broccoli soup.
Shake it Up
The green shake is one restaurant trend that seems to have
staying power; McDonald's has sold its minty-green Shamrock Shake for more than
But a different green beverage is starting to make the rounds. Smoothies with naturally green ingredients, such as kale, in the mix are popping up on menus everywhere.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a chain smoothie and sandwich eatery with more than 300 locations, has an Island Green smoothie with spinach and kale.
For a limited time, the cafe also has a cucumber-mint mojito smoothie, an alcohol-free green beverage perfect for the healthier side of St. Paddy's Day.
Want to make your own at home? Try this recipe with Zico coconut water or this yogurt-based breakfast smoothie. And, should you celebrate St. Patrick's Day a little too hard, this Mint-Lime Detox smoothie might be just the ticket.
Crazy Leprechauns and Green Mice
Planet Hollywood is a restaurant meant to reflect the glitz and glamour side of star-studded Hollywood. Think Hard Rock Cafe for movie stars. The restaurant even has a background to match its theme.
Planet Hollywood was launched in 1991 with the backing of Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Of a group that includes the Italian Stallion and an Austrian, Willis has by far the most Irish blood in his veins — but still just a tad on his father's side.
Perhaps that's why the bar and eatery's Irish fare tends to trend on the fusion side of things on St. Paddy's Day. Find Irish egg rolls and drinks called The Crazy Leprechaun, plus Planet Shamrock Jell-O Shots.
Of Planet Hollywood's four locations, the one in Orlando —
smack in the middle of "Downtown Disney" at Walt Disney World — is
the most family-friendly of the bunch. That location serves a non-alcoholic
green drink called the Young Lad Irish Sour Apple.
Walt Disney World is the epicenter of epic St. Paddy's day parties, with parades, green drinks and bakeries stuffed full of green treats, like the Irish-themed mouse ears above.
Try This at Home: Kale Colcannon
Though it's yet to break big on American menus, Colcannon, a traditional dish of potatoes mashed with cabbage or kale, is big in Ireland.
So beloved in Ireland is Colcannon, that there's even an Irish folk song about the dish.