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Chipotle to start offering queso dip at all restaurants

Chipotle Mexican Grill will start offering queso dip at all restaurants next week.

>> Read more trending news

The fast-casual restaurant chain announced it was going to “fulfill the wishes of queso lovers from coast to coast” by adding queso to its menu at all stores on Sept. 12.

The company has been testing queso in 350 restaurants in Southern California and the Colorado area.

Customers can order queso on their entrée or on the side in two sizes with chips. Prices vary slightly by city, but range from $1.25 to add it to an entrée to $5.25 for a large side order, the company said in a statement.

» RELATED: Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually

“Although queso was the No. 1-requested menu item, we never added it to our menu before now because we wouldn’t use the industrial additives used in most quesos,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO at Chipotle. “Additives make typical queso very consistent and predictable, but are not at all in keeping with our food culture. Our queso may vary slightly depending on the characteristics of the aged cheddar cheese used in each batch, but using only real ingredients is what makes our food so delicious.”

Chipotle, which opened its first restaurant in Denver in 1993, now operates more than 2,300 restaurants.

Read more here.

How to score free Chick-fil-A breakfast this month 

Chick-fil-A often gives away free food, but with the latest promotion, you don’t have to dress like a cow to win. 

>> Read more trending news 

Through September 30, Chick-fil-A is dishing out one free breakfast entree to each person who downloads the fast food chain’s mobile app and either creates a new account or updates their existing app. 

>> Related:Chick-fil-A tests large family style meals

Customers who do so can choose between three options: A hash brown scramble, egg white Grill Sandwich or a chicken biscuit sandwich. 

“You’ll find it in your ‘available treats’ section on the main page of the app if you scroll down a little,” a Chick-fil-A spokesperson said. “In order to see this breakfast offer, you may need to scroll horizontally through your available treats if you have other treats available.”

According to Thrillist, “Once you claim the deal in the app, you have until the end of September to hit up your local Chick-fil-A restaurant during breakfast hours (until 10:30 a.m.) and redeem it for the free food.”

Easy, peasy. Enjoy!

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Fire damages legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin

The renowned Franklin Barbecue suffered heavy fire damage overnight, the Austin Fire Department said early Saturday.

The fire started in the pit room adjacent to to the main dining room at Franklin, owned by James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin and known for long lines and world-class brisket.

The room that houses the pits suffered “heavy damage” but firefighters were able to contain the fire, resulting only in smoke damage to the dining room and public portion of the restaurant.

Owner Aaron Franklin hopes to reopen the restaurant in a few weeks.

Officials say the cause of the fire was accidental.

BEST RESTAURANTS IN AUSTIN: See where Franklin rates in our Austin360 dining guide

Starbucks tests new sushi burrito

Select Starbucks locations will now be selling a combination of two of millennial’s favorite things -- a burrito and sushi all rolled conveniently into one easy to grab snack.

>> Read more trending news 

With the limited release of the sushi burrito, only those living in Chicago and Seattle will be able to give the snack a try and see if it stands up to previous Starbucks concoctions such as the autumn mooncakes or beef jerky cold brew.

RELATED: Chicago Starbucks are now donating all their unsold food to a local shelter

Part of the company’s Mercado menu, which is full of lunch meals for customers to enjoy, customers interested in the sushi burrito will be able to order a chicken maki roll, HypeBeast reported. Rolled up like a little burrito, the meal is jam packed with sticky white rice, shredded chicken, pickled cabbage, cucumber, onion and avocado.

What makes the sushi burrito a crossover of sorts is the tomatillo salsa and lime crema that tops it off before being rolled in a seaweed wrap. If the item does well in Chicago and Seattle, it is presumed that Starbucks will open the sushi burrito to all locations for everyone to enjoy.

Chick-fil-A adds breakfast bowl, breakfast burrito menu options

Chick-fil-A this week unveiled its new breakfast bowl, the Hash Brown Scramble, adding it to the breakfast menu at all of its participating restaurants nationwide.

>> Read more trending news

The new menu item is made with “tot-style” hash browns, scrambled eggs, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, and a choice of either sliced chicken nuggets or pork sausage. It can also be ordered as a burrito, with the ingredients wrapped in a soft tortilla. The dishes are served with a side of jalapeño salsa.

>> Related: Chick-fil-A adds new sandwich, lemonade to summer menu

Chick-fil-A officials said in a release that the new menu item is the “first breakfast bowl for the national quick-service restaurant company.” The chain previously added an Egg White Grill as an “on-the-go” breakfast option.

>> Related: About that Chick-fil-A ‘gluten-free bun’ — there’s a catch

“At Chick-fil-A, we understand the importance of breakfast and want to provide a wide range of options to our guests who are looking for a fast and delicious breakfast,” Amanda Norris, senior director of menu development for Chick-fil-A, said in a release. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in popularity for breakfast bowls, and the Hash Brown Scramble combines two fan favorites – our chicken nuggets and hash browns.”

>> Related: Chick-fil-A tests large family style meals

The Hash Brown Scramble Bowl has 450 calories and 30 grams of protein when made with nuggets. The Hash Brown Scramble Burrito will replace the current Breakfast Burrito.

Chick-fil-A customers in the states of New York and New Jersey, and cities of San Diego, Columbia, S.C., and Washington, D.C. test-marketed the Hash Brown Scramble and two other potential breakfast items in the fall of 2016.

Customers at Virginia Chipotle report illness, suspect norovirus

Chipotle temporarily closed one of its restaurants in Sterling, Virginia, after an unspecified amount of customers reported illnesses with symptoms consistent with norovirus after eating food at the Mexican grill, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news

According to the AP a “small number” of customers reported the illnesses. 

Chipotle said the company planned to reopen the Virginia location the same day after completing a full sanitation of the restaurant. 

Chipotle officials are working with health officials to discover the cause of the illnesses. Restaurant officials assured customers that norovirus does not come from its food supply.

>> Related: Chipotle testing queso offering

Chipotle’s shares dropped more than six percent Tuesday as investors responded to the incident with concern. 

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. 

In 2015, Chipotle’s revenue and reputation suffered after an E. coli outbreak at restaurants in nine states and a norovirus outbreak at a Boston location. Approximately 500 customers reported illnesses.

“We may be at a higher risk for food-borne illness outbreaks than some competitors due to our use of fresh produce and meats, rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation,” Chipotle officials said at the time

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restaurant workers are often the source of norovirus outbreaks, as they often touch foods such as raw fruits and vegetables with their bare hands before serving them.

In 2016, Chipotle shut down all locations for a day retrain employees on food safety.

 

Chick-fil-A tests large family style meals

Chick-fil-A has begun testing family style meals in three U.S. cities with plans to continue the offerings through November.

>> Read more trending news

The Family Style Meals include one entrée, two sides and eight mini rolls with the option to add additional entrees, sides and beverages.

The meals, which are served with plates, utensils and condiments, are made to serve up to four people. 

“Our customers told us that they wanted an even more convenient way to share meals at home or on the go, so we worked directly with a group of parents to design every part of Family Style Meals -- down to the cutlery caddy that features five unique conversation starter questions to help customers connect over mealtime,” Matt Abercrombie, Chick-fil-A manager of menu development, said in a news release. “Mealtime should be an enjoyable experience that brings family and friends together, not an extra stress in the day.”

>> Related: Chick-fil-A adds new sandwich, lemonade to summer menu

Customers can choose one of four entrees -- 12 Chick-n-Strips, four Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Breasts, 30 Chick-fil-A Nuggets or four Grilled Chicken Breasts -- and two of six sides, including baked beans, waffle potato chips, fruit cup, macaroni and cheese and side salad.

The Family Style Meals are being sold for $29.99 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, until November 18.

“We heard that for a lot of people who are in charge of planning dinner, it’s really not that enjoyable,” Abercrombie said, according to Business Insider. “Some parents said ‘I don’t even eat until after my family is fed.’ That was a really big ‘aha!’ for us.”

>> Related: Chick-fil-A is now offering a gluten-free bun option

Chick-fil-A is testing the options in an effort to determine whether the Family Style Meals are to be offered in other cities. The company is also using the time to decide whether it will offer beans and macaroni and cheese as permanent side items.

The beans are kettle-cooked with bacon and brown sugar. The mac and cheese is made of a blend of cheddar, parmesan and romano cheeses.

Read more at Chick-fil-A.

World's biggest burger on sale for nearly $8,000

An American cheeseburger, weighing 1,794 pounds, has just become the world’s largest commercially sold burger. 

>> Read more trending news

Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Detroit spent the past four years cooking up a plan to win back its Guinness World Records title from a Japanese restaurant, WXYZ reported.

Mallie’s reclaimed the title Monday after creating a super-sized hamburger with 300 pounds of cheese and 250 pounds of pickles, according to WXYZ.

This beefy meal, which stands 3 feet high, was made “in memory of his wife Renee who died from breast cancer, and as a birthday gift to his two daughters,” WXYZ reported. 

“It's a lifetime memory for them. I mean how many kids get to get an 1,800-pound hamburger on their birthday?” Steve Mallie told WXYZ. 

If you’re getting hungry reading this, you can order the burger for a small fee of $7,799.

Read more at WXYZ.

>> Related: Some call Costco’s new burger ‘Shake Shack copycat’

Chipotle testing queso offering

According to Eater, Chipotle is unveiling its only public-facing test kitchen in New York on Monday, called Chipotle NEXT Kitchen. On deck: a classic margarita and virgin strawberry variety, a salad with avocado citrus dressing and queso.

>> Read more trending news

That’s right. Queso, which the Mexican fast casual chain just previously said would not appear on its menu anytime soon due to the artificial ingredients needed to make the liquid gold suitable for a service line. That cheesy dip is the most requested item that’s not on Chipotle’s menu, Eater New York reported. In a Chipotle internal memo quoted by Eater, the restaurant’s CEO, Steve Ells, told employees Monday that the lack of queso has lead to lost business.

>> Related: Here's why Chipotle doesn't sell queso

To be clear: This does not mean that queso is headed to your local Chipotle, as it’s currently only available at the test kitchen. However, if you’ve held your queso dreams close to your burrito-eating heart, it’s certainly cause for optimism.

Chick-fil-A introduces new gluten-free bun

In response to customer requests, Chick-fil-A announced the addition of a new gluten-free bun option to its menu, making it one of the first fast food restaurants to offer the item.

>> Read more trending news 

The 150-calorie bun, made with premium ingredients like quinoa and amaranth and lightly sweetened with molasses and raisins, is now available in restaurants nationwide, according to a company news release.

>> Related: Chick-fil-A adds new sandwich, lemonade to summer menu

It comes individually packaged and can be ordered with any Chick-fil-A sandwich for an additional $1.15.

The company tested the option in three U.S. cities in 2016 and found the bun to be the most commonly ordered item with the grilled chicken sandwich and grilled chicken deluxe sandwich.

“Our hope is that the gluten-free bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu, Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A, said.

Gluten-free items are most commonly consumed by people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as if it were a poison.

Click here to read more information on the gluten-free bun and other gluten-free options at Chick-fil-A.

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