Shrimp starring in US restaurants’ Lent offerings

Shrimp is playing a starring role in the U.S. quick-service restaurant sector’s 2022 Lenten promotions.

Shrimp is playing a starring role in the U.S. quick-service restaurant sector’s 2022 Lenten promotions.

Farmed shrimp prices and availability have remained relatively steady throughout the pandemic, in sharp contrast to many other fish and shellfish species. Partially as a result, shrimp sales to the U.S. foodservice sector rebounded in 2021 from a significant drop in 2020 that was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 275 million pounds of shrimp was sold to foodservice channels in 2021, up by 50 million pounds from 2020, according to data shared during the National Fisheries Institute Global Seafood Market Conference in January 2022.

Now, for the 2022 Lenten season, several restaurant are offering shrimp-focused Lenten specials.

Krystal, for example, debuted four fried shrimp offerings: Shrimp Po’ Boy, Buffalo Ranch Shrimp Po’ Boy, Shrimp Po’ Boy Combo, and Double Dozen Basket.

“New Orleans is known for [its] unique and flavorful cuisine and we were inspired by the ‘Big Easy’ for our Lenten menu,” Krystal Chief Marketing Officer Alice Crowder said. “We’re excited to bring back some favorites and serve up some new offerings this season. We put together highly craveable bites that evoke the spirit and great tastes of the popular Southern city.”

The Shrimp Po’ Bo’ Boy includes fried bite-sized shrimp in a steamed Pup bun and is topped with remoulade and pickles. The Buffalo Ranch Shrimp Po’ Boy features Buffalo and ranch sauces. Krystal’s Double Dozen Basket features 24 fried popcorn shrimp, fries, hush puppies, and a side of remoulade.

White Castle is bringing back its Shrimp Nibblers, which it has offered every year since 2015 during the Lenten season. The breaded shrimp are sold in small, medium, and sack sizes, the company said in a press release. White Castle's other year-round seafood menu items include the Panko Fish Slider and Fish Nibbler, both made with Alaska pollock.

Long John Silver’s is not launching new items for Lent, but it is promoting its Fish & Shrimp Combo, which includes one piece of hand-battered, wild-caught Alaska pollock, three pieces of shrimp, one side, two hushpuppies, and a drink. The restaurant chain is also highlighting its Sea-Shares offering, which includes a choice of 15 grilled shrimp, 15 batter-dipped shrimp, or a shareable serving of breaded popcorn shrimp for USD 10.00 (EUR 8.93). Customers can also choose either option of nine hand-battered chicken tenders or a six pieces of hand-battered Alaska pollock.

Also for Lent, Taco Del Mar launched Crispy Shrimp Tacos, which include shredded cabbage, made-in-house Baja white sauce, and pico de gallo, with an option to add crispy shrimp to any menu entrée, the company said in a press release. The large, lightly breaded, oven-baked crispy shrimp are an additional seafood option joining the menu alongside Taco Del Mar’s signature item, its Rippin’ Fish taco.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill has elected to us wild red Argentine shrimp in three new limited-time dishes. Its restaurants in California, Nevada, and Arizona are carrying Chipotle Honey Argentinean Shrimp Bowl, Chipotle honey Argentinian Shrimp Burrito, and Chipotle Honey Argentinean Shrimp Two Taco Plate, Rubio’s said in a press release.

“The rich, fresh, sweet-tasting wild-caught red Argentinian shrimp never fails to delight guests, and we’re thrilled it’s back on the menu,” Rubio’s Co-Founder Ralph Rubio said.

The shrimp is sourced from the “icy, pristine waters off the far southeastern tip of Argentina,” Rubio said.

“They are wild-caught, never farmed, continuing our commitment to serving responsibly sourced seafood wherever possible,” he said.

While shrimp is en vogue this Lenten season, many restaurant chains continue to offer fish sandwiches.

Arby’s just rolled out several fish-focused items, including a new Spicy Fish Sandwich. The crispy fish fillet is served on a toasted sesame bun with shredded lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce, and fire-roasted jalapenos, according to Chew Boom.

Arby’s is also bringing back its Crispy Fish Sandwich and its King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe Sandwich, which is served on a toasted King’s Hawaiian Roll.

And Quiznos is bringing back its Lobster Classic sandwich and its Old Bay Lobster Club. The Lobster Classic Sub is made with a lobster and seafood salad mix with shredded lettuce on butter-toasted Italian white bread with a lemon wedge garnish. The Old Bay Lobster Club includes the same lobster and seafood salad mix, along with Old Bay seasoning, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and spicy mayo on a butter-toasted Italian white bread with lemon garnish.

Photo courtesy of White Castle


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