Secret menus offer flexibility for regulars
The concept of the secret menu has given foodies and adventurous eaters alike a new raison d'etre, at least as far as their palate is concerned.
Several eateries and coffee shops have implemented the extra menu, which allows frequent customers, or others who are "in the know," more variety and flavors to experience their favorite restaurants. One of Chipotle's most recognizable items from its secret menu is the quesarito. This cheese-heavy meal is a burrito with a cheese quesadilla in place of the tortilla. Because it is essentially two meals in one, it would be best to save this order in the rare event of an empty store or on a slow day.
Jimmy John's offers a mega sandwich for a mega appetite. By ordering the "Chuck Norris," Jimmy Johns will concoct a sandwich with everything on it. It's the J.J. Gargantuan, which includes salami, ham, capicola, roast beef, turkey and provolone, along with helpings of tuna and bacon. Of course, all the regular fixings are included, like lettuce, onions, tomatoes and sauce.
BurgerFi also had a "secret" menu that was separate from the boards at the counter. They recently made the switch over to include the secret items on the main menu, so anyone can walk in and order sides like the Urban Fries — fries with garlic aioli and parmesan cheese on top.
In terms of coffee, Starbucks takes the cake with its secret menu. Many of the ingredients can be found in the store already. All it takes is some creativity as per which flavor combinations you'd like to try. The customizable nature of the Starbucks menu leads to quite an expansive array, so it's best to know what goes into the drink before expecting the barista to know every order. Notable creations include the Butterbeer Frappuccino, which consists of two pumps of toffee nut syrup and two pumps of caramel syrup in a Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino. Nutella lovers can also mimic the rich taste by ordering a pump of hazelnut and chocolate into their drink.
Vespr, in Waterford Lakes, also has extra options to choose from, although not as seemingly endless as Starbucks. Because the craft coffee shop changes its ingredients often, it had to get rid of many of the secret options, said barista Anna Charles, a social work master's student. Despite the ever-evolving list of ingredients, Charles recommends trying the bourbon maple latte or an iced soy latte with a maple shot if in need of something different.
Secret menus can be a fun way to spice up a meal, an exciting way to keep interest among frequent customers and in some cases, are a great medium to express your inner creative chef. However, make sure to always take into account the amount of customers in the store and the time of day before getting carried away with a big order.
Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Noellecampz or email her at NoelleC@CentralFloridaFuture.com.